Platelets pulled in OV
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, During last week's platelet drive put on by the American Red Cross, Phillip Heliotes watches a movie while donating. The process takes about an hour and a half to donate one, two or three units of platelets.

The American Red Cross encourages blood donors to help prevent a summer shortage by rolling up a sleeve to give. Donors of all blood types are urged to schedule an appointment now, especially those with types O negative, B negative and A negative.

Type O negative is universal and can likely be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to patients with either Rh positive or negative blood. These blood types are the most in demand and the first to run out if there is a shortage. 

The Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients at 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. 

How to donate blood

Call 1-800-733-2767,or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

For more information, visit redcrossblodd.org.

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