Red Cross calls for new donors to prevent a summer blood shortage

The American Red Cross urges those who have never given blood before – as well as those who haven’t given recently – to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help sustain a sufficient community blood supply this summer.
While the need for blood is constant during the summer months, the Red Cross experiences a drastic decline in new donors. Nationwide, about 32 percent fewer new blood donors, and more than 34 percent fewer in Minnesota, came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year. Additionally, many schools where blood drives are held – and where new donors give – are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacation plans.
While about 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, less than 10 percent of those eligible actually do. The blood donation process takes about an hour with the actual donation only taking about 10 minutes. Whether new to donating blood or a lifelong donor, the Red Cross offers helpful tips for an enjoyable donation experience:
• As much as possible, eat iron-rich foods leading up to your donation.
• Hydrate– drink an extra 16 oz. of liquid before and after the donation.
• Have a healthy meal before the donation.
• Wear comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.
• Complete a RapidPass on the day of donation, prior to arriving, to save time.
• Remember to bring a picture ID, blood donor card or two other forms of identification.

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