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"Any one pint can save up to three lives, since we can separate red blood cells from the platelets and the plasma, but there are times when people need many, many units just to have hope of survival".

This January - National Blood Donor Month - the American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to make an appointment to give now and help address a winter blood donation shortage.

That's why the American Red Cross is reaching out for help.

Winter is usually a slow time for blood donors, because of the hectic holiday schedules and cold and flu season.

The Red Cross, which collects 40 percent of the country's blood supply, is always accepting donations at its blood center on Forest Avenue in Portland and has a series of blood donation events set up across the state, including events later this month in Yarmouth, Windham, Buxton, Westbrook, Portland, South Portland, Standish and Gorham, as well as the annual blood drive at Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland, set for February 8 from 1 to 7 p.m.

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There will still be travel alerts in case of demonstrations, hurricanes or terrorist incidents, for example. The travel advisory further points out high-risk areas in the country that citizens should avoid.

The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. RapidPass can now be completed on mobile devices and through the Blood Donor App. Typically, donors must be at least 17-years-old, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and meet a series of other eligibility requirements.

Stanford Blood Center says they are seeking donations for any type of blood.

In a recent press release, Blood Assurance cited a crucial shortage in Type O positive blood, which is always much-needed, because it's the most common blood type.

1 in 4 people who enter the hospital actually need a blood transfusion and many patients need blood on a regular basis. "Also, if you are using electrical space heaters make sure that you plug them directly into an outlet and you are in the room when you are using them and when you go to leave the room turn them off".

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