A drought of blood, too

Severe weather in most parts of the country has caused more than a worrisome drought this year. It has also apparently dried up the supply of blood, according to the American Red Cross.

Extreme heat and storms, combined with a drought, have canceled blood drives in many communities and kept donors at home in others. More than 50,000 fewer donations were made in June, a number that increased in July and is expected to go higher in August and September.

That could mean the cancellation of elective surgeries and an overall shortage of blood for emergencies.

The Northwest blood supply has not dwindled, and blood centers with surpluses often have resource-sharing agreements with other areas in need. That makes it important for South Sounders to increase our blood donations.

It’s fortunate that we’ve escaped the severe weather, so far, and giving blood more frequently now will help those in need elsewhere.

The Puget Sound Blood Center reports that summertime donations usually drop off by 15 percent due to family vacations and college students returning home. During the other seasons, about 900 people per day give blood, and that drops to around 750 in the summer.

All blood types are always needed, but O-negative blood is particularly needed. It is the universal donor type that can be given to patients with any other blood type.

If the South Sound can create surpluses even in the summer, it will help those in other states. Here’s another idea: If you’re traveling to another part of the United States this summer, give blood there and help save someone else’s life.