While many of us can take some precautions to avoid the wrath of the prolonged heat, some things shouldn't be avoided or neglected.

Giving blood is one.

Summer months are already a difficult time, as blood donations fall as much as 20 percent while traditional Red Cross donors go on vacation. Meanwhile, outdoor activities increase the number of accidents, and typical medical procedures continue in the 80 or so Oregon and Washington hospitals served by the Red Cross.

So in this heat, we offer the following encouragement: Find a cool place to escape the heat, including giving blood in an air-conditioned donation center. If you have an appointment to give blood, keep that date, even if it is hot. If you have never given blood, make an appointment by calling 1-800-Give Life, or going online at

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