Blood donations in the Maryland area are less than half of normal as the Fourth of July holiday approaches, and the American Red Cross is pleading for donors.
Particularly needed are types B and O positive blood throughout the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region, which serves about 80 hospitals in Maryland, northern Virginia, southern Pennsylvania and Washington.
Blood supplies routinely drop in the summer, when regular donors go on vacation. Meanwhile, demand increases as traffic accidents peak around the summer holiday weekends.
The local Red Cross typically receives about 1,600 pints of donated blood a day, according to officials. Recently, about 670 pints a day have been donated.
In addition to the local shortage - heightened by the large number of medical centers in this area - blood is in short supply across the United States.
Red Cross officials encourage potential donors to make appointments to give blood to avoid long waits.
Middle-aged people tend to be consistent donors, but it is difficult to get college and high school students to give blood.
Donation centers are set up almost daily throughout the metropolitan area. Today, donations will be taken at the Mount Hope Donor Center, 4700 Mount Hope Drive in Baltimore.
To schedule an appointment, call 800-GIVE-LIFE.