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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever changing landscape of health news.Every Thursday at 5:42 a.m., 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m., Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs provides health information you can trust. With trustworthy sources, she explores the fact and fiction surrounding various medical conditions and treatments, makes you aware of upcoming screenings, gives you prevention strategies and more…all to your health.Local support for To Your Health comes from Fresh Healthy Cafe in Cape Girardeau -- located inside St. Francis Medical Center. Online ordering is at freshsaintfrancis.com

To Your Health: Summer Blood Shortages

Flickr user New Jersey National Guard (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)

The American Red Cross reports that although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually donate each year. Donations at high school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of the supply during the school year, but during the summer months, these donors are not as accessible. When vacations disrupt other regular donors’ schedules, we are faced with a summer blood shortage.

Despite many medical advances, doctors and researchers have not created a substitute for blood. It is not something that can be manufactured. It can only be supplied by donors. And, this supply must constantly be replenished not only because of how often it is used, but also because of how quickly it expires.

The American Red Cross, which provides 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply,  estimates that every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. This rate doesn’t decrease during the lazy days of summer. In fact, because a single car accident victim can require 100 pints of donated blood and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports July and August have more car crashes than any other months, the need for blood donors intensifies.

When there is a blood shortage, elective surgeries, such a knee replacements, may be canceled, transfusions can be deferred, and emergency patients may be re-routed to hospitals with better supplies, costing life-saving minutes.

Blood donation  typically takes less than an hour and is a simple four step process: registration, mini-physical, donation and refreshments. Consider making it a part of your summer plans.


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