As we enter the holiday season, it is important we consider the gift of blood. 

Blood banks face significant shortages during the holidays. 

In addition, blood donations have been down throughout the pandemic and we want to again emphasize that it is perfectly safe to give blood. 

Simply put, the donation of blood could help save a life.

Blood banks have extensive protocols in place to create a safe environment for blood donations, with service providers wearing masks, locations that promote social distancing and extensive cleaning and disinfection processes throughout the day.

All blood types are needed.

Blood and blood platelets cannot be manufactured in a laboratory.

They must be donated.

The American Red Cross has said that someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds.

That number is staggering and it is not uncommon in some locations for demand to exceed supply.

The Red Cross has also said that one blood donor can potentially save up to three lives.

Health care leaders have explained the pandemic has taken a toll on the blood supply.

South Georgia Medical Center must have a ready supply of blood and cannot wait until there is an emergency and blood is instantly needed.

Donors are encouraged to donate now to ensure local hospitals have the blood needed to help patients suffering from traumas, cancers and chronic illnesses, health care representatives said.

Donors must be at least 17 years old or 16 with parental permission, must weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is needed.

The American Red Cross and LifeSouth community blood centers are both good options for donating blood or for helping your business or organization in hosting a blood drive. You can check with both organizations to find out the most convenient time and location.

Giving blood is something that many of us can do to help save lives.

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