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Blood drives need help - supply dwindles in summer
Red Cross phlebotomist Paulita Banez, center, prepares to take blood donations Wednesday at the Georgia Southern University Recreation Activities Center.
    Got blood? Some blood banks start worrying when summertime arrives and donations dwindle.
    The demand for blood for accident victims and other medical needs stays the same as the demand year round, but the supply drops due to busy schedules, vacations and other factors, said  Dean Smith, district manager for the Savannah office of  the Southern Region Blood Services.
     A large percentage  - 20 percent - of blood donors come from colleges and high schools, and when summer rolls around, these donors often have taken time off from their normal routine and don't always maintain the blood donations they offer during the rest of the year, he said.
    That means blood banks need to make up that loss, and citizens are urged to take the time to donate, he said.
    "Going into  the summer months, we're trying to make up that 20 percent," he said.
    The need for blood "doesn't go up, but it doesn't go down, either," during the summer, Smith said.
    The supply on hand is frighteningly limited. At best, for the most common blood types, there is a two-day supply, he said For O positive blood, the on-hand supply is 1.24 days; O negative is .99 day. A negative blood supply stands at 1.24 days and B negative is only .63 day's supply, he said.
    This is not unusual. "We really live around  this kind of inventory level," he said.
    While Bulloch County is the top producer of blood supply, citizens are urged to make more effort to help replenish the supply. Smith said 10 percent of Bulloch's population donates blood, which is double the national average of five percent and far higher than the state average of 3.5 percent.
    People " don't understand how much we appreciate the support of  your community," he said.
    Nancy Martin, senior district manager for the Southern Region Blood Services, said several blood drives are scheduled for the area, including one today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Nevils United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.
    Another drive will be held June 2 at the Mims Monroe donation center at the East Georgia Regional Medical Center office complex. Donations are taken from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and walk-ins are welcome, but to make things more convenient citizens can call toll-free at 1-866- 611-7137 to make an appointment, she said. Callers should select " Option 7" when using this appointment method.
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