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Red Cross needs blood donors now

The area blood supply has dropped to critically low levels for blood types O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative.

The Red Cross is calling on eligible blood donors to schedule and keep blood donation appointments as soon as convenient locations and times are available. To schedule an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-733-2767.

Daphne Mathew, communications manager for the Red Cross, said, 'Distributions to hospitals of types O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative are outpacing donations, creating a critical need for those blood types.'

She also said, 'Overall, blood donations are down in the first five months of 2012, compared to the same period last year. As a result, there is almost half the amount of readily available blood in the Red Cross inventory at this point in time.'

Eligible donors with types O positive, O negative, B negative or A negative blood are encouraged to double the difference their donation can make by donating via the innovative double red cell technology where available.

Individuals who are 17 (sometimes 16 with parental permission) years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Eligible donors can call 1-800-733-2767 or visit redcrossblood.org for more information.