Give blood to ease shortage

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This has not been a typical Texas summer in many ways — temperatures have been below normal at a time when the mercury typically hovers near the century mark, and we’ve even been blessed with rain on several occasions.

We’ve enjoyed the milder weather conditions, and thanks to frequent summer showers, our lawn is greener than it usually is as the second full week of August approaches. Heck, we’ve even faced the necessity to mow more frequently without complaint.

The fact is it’s been so pleasant outdoors that we’ve gotten a little spoiled. Oh, we realize that there’s still plenty of time left before fall for temperatures to heat up substantially, but some of us may have forgotten that it’s summer.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for the American Red Cross, which recently issued a call for additional blood donations. Blood donations often decline during the summer months, agency officials said, but the current need is even more serious than usual.

A recent alert stated that the agency continues to have an urgent need for blood donors of all types.

The current shortage comes in spite of additional donors who answered a Red Cross call for stepped-up donations in late July. The donations that followed were much appreciated, officials said, but more blood is essential to meet current needs.

There’s still time for donors to step up and make a difference before summer comes to a close and school gets underway again.

Many of us don’t give much thought to the blood that travels through our bodies. We tend to take it for granted.

But others aren’t so lucky. According to the Red Cross, there are all kinds of reasons to need blood, including blood loss due to an accident, surgery or other medical procedure. Some people need transfusions because of medical conditions that prevent the body from producing new blood cells.

The need for blood is constant, and regular contributions from the public are vital to help ensure a healthy and reliable supply.

Statistics provided by the Red Cross emphasize just how important every single donation of blood really is — someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day and a single car accident victim can sometimes require as many as 100 pints of blood.

Although blood is an essential part of our bodies, most of us won’t miss a step by making a donation. The average adult has about 10 to 12 pints of blood coursing through the heart, lungs, arteries, veins and capillaries, according to the Red Cross.

Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Potential donors can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients, but Red Cross officials told us that donors with types O-negative, B-negative and A-negative blood are especially needed.

When eligible donors give on a regular basis and encourage others to do likewise, a healthy supply can be maintained, so there’s not as much danger of a shortage at critical times.

If you are able to give blood, we urge you to do so in the near future to help meet the current urgent need. You’ll feel good knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.

In fact, the Red Cross told us that one donation can help save the lives of up to three people.

That’s what we call a good investment.


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