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San Diego Blood Bank Asking County Residents for Blood

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A national shortage of saline is still cutting into the local blood supply, and more donors are needed, the San Diego Blood Bank announced Thursday.

Blood bank officials say they use saline to hydrate donors who give twice the usual amount of red blood cells, but the substance is hard to find because so many flu victims around the U.S. are going to hospitals because of dehydration.

The spike in saline demand came when manufacturers were closed for the holidays, and now that production is back underway, hospitals and dialysis centers have top priority in getting orders filled, according to the SDBB.

The organization said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with the manufacturers to end the saline shortage by spring.

Because the blood bank can't accommodate double-donors, it needs more regular donors. The blood bank said O negative and A negative blood types are in danger of falling below safe levels.

Healthy people over age 17 can donate blood to offset the loss of double red cell donations.

Bloodmobile or donor center locations are listed online at sandiegobloodbank.org, or by phone at 800-469-7322.

—City News Service

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