Western Kentucky Regional Blood Center is in need of donors for every blood type.

The center is down to a two- or three-day supply on hand, said Janet Howard, the blood center's administrator.

Donations always dip in summer. People are busy or out of town on vacations. Schools, which often host blood drives, are shut down for the summer.

"The need for blood donors is ongoing," Howard said. "It doesn't matter if it's summer or Christmas."

But summer is worse, she said.

The American Red Cross published a press release Wednesday that said it, too, was facing a blood shortage.

"The call for donations comes after a difficult July Fourth week for donations when hundreds fewer blood drives were organized by volunteer hosts than a typical week, compounding a shortfall of more than 24,000 blood donations in June," the press release said.

Howard said blood centers in the south are trying to prepare for the upcoming storm season, but WKRBC is not able to donate to them because its own supplies are so low.

The blood center is at 3015 Old Hartford Road. Walk-ins are welcome.

With the required screening and paperwork, donors should expect to be in the office up to an hour, but the actual donation takes about 10 minutes. Howard said it is easy to donate during a lunch hour.

Before donating, it's good to eat iron-rich foods and drink an extra 16 ounces of water.

Wear a shirt with sleeves that easily roll above the elbows.

After giving blood, eat a snack and drink an extra four 8-ounce glasses of water or other nonalcoholic beverages during a 24-hour period.

Owensboro's blood center has snacks, drinks and T-shirts for anyone who gives.

WKRBC is the sole supplier of blood and blood products for six western Kentucky hospitals -- Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, Ohio County Hospital, Crittenden Health System, Caldwell County Hospital, Breckinridge Memorial Health and Jennie Stuart Medical Center.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com.

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