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Blood donations plummet due to snowy East Coast conditions

January 28, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
(Stephan Savoia / Associated…)

Got blood? Not nearly enough, the American Red Cross says. The snowstorms that pummeled the East Coast this winter forced the cancellation of blood drives and caused the organization to lose out on 16,400 blood and platelet donors.

To shore up what it calls a dramatic dip in the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross is asking people in areas of the country unaffected by bad weather to give blood -- particularly those who are O-negative, A-negative and B-negative. Go to the Red Cross website to find out how to make an appointment.

Even in good weather, only 3 in 100 Americans donate blood. Here are some tips from the Red Cross for potential donors to keep in mind before giving blood:

Hydrate, be sure to drink plenty of fluids the day of your donation.
Wear something comfortable, clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow.
Maintain a healthy level of iron in your diet before donating.
Bring a list of medications you are taking. Bring an ID.

And here's information for first-timers on what to expect.

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