Public urged to donate blood

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WEST NEWBURY – A winter blood and platelet shortage reported by the American Red Cross has local health officials urging residents to consider giving blood for National Blood Donor Month in January.

A blood drive is slated for Monday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 25 Low St., Newburyport.

According to the Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds and approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day — one car accident victim could require as many as 100 pints of blood.

 Busy schedules, holiday breaks from school, inclement weather and winter illnesses are cited as some contributing factors in the decline of blood donations recently.

“The need for blood doesn’t go away just because of busy schedules or bad weather,” said West Newbury Public Health Agent Paul Sevigny, “While not everyone is eligible to donate, we are encouraging those who are to consider donating to help those who really need it, especially this time of year.”

To supply enough blood to the nation’s 2,600 hospitals, clinics and cancer centers, the Red Cross needs to collect more than 13,000 donations every day. While approximately 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent do.

Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. In the days leading up to donating, the Red Cross recommends the donor eat iron-rich foods such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, iron-fortified cereals and raisins.

Source: newburyportnews