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Need for blood donations still seen locally

Matt explained research has shown if everyone who is currently only donating once a year, comes back and does it a second time, shortages during the holidays and summer months will be much less.

In terms of specific blood types in shortage, Matt said they can always use more Type O blood, whether it be positive or negative.

"It's the universal donor and it's also the most popular blood type," Matt explained. "About 45 percent of the population are O positive."

If you do decide to become a blood donor, there are restrictions in place that may defer you.

Matt explained anyone who has visited Europe is deferred, due to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - more commonly known as "Mad Cow" disease - which cannot be detected through a clinical test. Malaria is also an issue. Anyone who has visited a tropical location within the past year is deferred from donating for one year.

"Even though you did not contract malaria, there's no real clinical test for malaria, so we put you in a risk category," explained Matt.

Anyone who has received a tattoo or piercing, including ear piercings, is also deferred for one year.

A person must be at least 110 pounds and age 16 or older. Ages 16-17 need parental consent to donate.

"There's no substitute for human blood. Trauma victims, cancer victims, cardiac surgery patients; all these procedures need blood," said Matt. "I mean, there are people who will not survive unless that is on that shelf."

If interested in donating, the center is located at 85 Plaza Boulevard and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. The center also participates in blood drives each month. For a complete list of blood drives, visit www.cvph.org.

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