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Some blood types at ’emergency levels’

Blood donors are desperately needed, and Covington County citizens have two opportunities this week to give the gift of life, county Red Cross executive director Merrill Davis said Monday.

Especially needed are Type O negative and type B negative blood supplies, which the American Red Cross have determined are at “emergency levels.”

“Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood,” Davis said. “There is no substitute for blood, and volunteer donors are the only source. Since type O negative blood can be used for any patient when there is not time to determine the patient’s blood type, it is crucial that there is a sufficient supply.”

The local blood drives are Thursday at First Baptist Church of Andalusia from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. and Friday at Florala Health and Rehabilitation from noon until 4 p.m.

The Stanford University School of Medicine’s Blood Center estimates that one of every 15 people has type O negative blood, and one of every 67 has type B negative.

To give blood, a donor must weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 17 years old and be in general good health.

All donors must have a photo ID or American Red Cross donor card.

Those who plan to give blood should follow these tips:

Double fluid intake in the 48 hours leading up to the drive.

Eat a nutritious meal the night before, as well as the day of, the blood drive.

Eat iron-rich foods such as lean beef, broccoli, eggs, greens, shrimp or dried beans.

Also consume foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, cabbage, tomatoes and sweet potatoes.

Get a good night’s sleep before the drive.