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One More Holiday To-Do List Item for Idahoans: Give Blood

PHOTO: A blood donation can be a lifesaving gift, which is why the American Red Cross hopes people will take time out of their holiday schedules to visit a local blood center or blood drive. Photo courtesy FDA
PHOTO: A blood donation can be a lifesaving gift, which is why the American Red Cross hopes people will take time out of their holiday schedules to visit a local blood center or blood drive. Photo courtesy FDA
December 30, 2013

BOISE, Idaho - At hospitals and clinics across the state, the need for blood knows no season, but donations tend to drop as the year comes to a close. That's why the call has gone out to Idahoans to roll up their sleeves to give a lifesaving gift.

Dan Fox, communications manager, American Red Cross, said between school vacations, winter weather and busy schedules, the number of donations declines over the holidays, while the need for blood in local hospitals remains constant.

"These could be car accident victims, trauma victims; they could be people undergoing surgery, women going through childbirth, premature babies, cancer patients. Every two seconds, somebody in this country needs a blood donation," Fox said.

The American Red Cross estimates that one in 10 people admitted to a hospital will require a blood transfusion.

Fox said many people do not think about giving blood until they hear about hospitals facing shortages, or there has been some sort of major tragedy, but he stressed that the blood donations need to be on hospital shelves before emergencies hit.

"It's vitally important to donate blood not just when you hear about a natural disaster or something on the news, because that way we can make sure that blood is available to all patients who need it," Fox explained.

Although nearly 40 percent of people in the U.S. are eligible to give blood, less than 10 percent do each year.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID