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LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – It’s something most of us don’t think much about, but it’s crucial for hospitals and for saving lives.

Blood supplies across the United States and in Southern Nevada remain at dangerously low levels following a severe decline in blood donations leading up to and following the July 4th holiday. In an effort to rebuild both local and national supplies and be prepared for unexpected events, United Blood Services, a Blood Systems blood center, is asking people in the Las Vegas area to give blood through the remainder of the summer.

Southern Nevada is going through a blood donation shortage and experts think the heat is to blame. Officials say the extremely hot weather over the last month has kept people from heading to blood donation centers.

“We’re actually looking for all blood types,” said Jeannine McCoy with United Blood Services in Las Vegas. “It’s been extremely hot, and with the heat, people haven’t been able to make it out, and because of the heat, people just aren’t coming out to donate,” McCoy said.

McCoy said in Southern Nevada there’s been a shortfall of 5,700 blood donations just in July. The center said it has only one day’s worth of O-negative and O-positive blood, and it’s low on A-negative blood.

United Blood Services urges both existing and first-time donors of all blood types to visit http://www.BloodHero.com or call 1-877-UBS-HERO to schedule an appointment.

United Blood Services strives to keep a 3-day supply of every blood type on the shelf at all times to be able to meet the needs of patients at the more than 60 hospitals they serve. Donations from O-negative donors, the universal blood type, are especially important this time of year due to increased accidents and trauma cases. The current O-negative blood supply sits at about a one-day supply. However, donors of all types are needed.

“Patients, their families and the more than 1,000 hospitals across the nation that Blood Systems serves depend on us to deliver on our promise to provide a safe and ample blood supply,” said Rob Van Tuyle, President of Blood Systems Blood Services Division. “Don’t take a vacation from blood donation. In about an hour, one donor can save up to three lives by giving blood,” said Van Tuyle.

“It’s the blood on the shelves that saves lives because tragedy can strike without a moment’s notice,” said Dirk Johns, Southwest Division President for United Blood Services. “Since it takes 24 to 36 hours to test and process blood before it cn be released to a hospital for patient use, it is important that people take the time to give blood now.”

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