The San Diego Blood Bank is dealing with a serious saline shortage that has had a major effect on its volume of donations.
Saline typically allows 125 donors each week to give double the amount of red cells, totaling about 250 donations per week.
But since saline has been unavailable, the blood bank has been missing out on hundreds of donations, and officials are concerned about dwindling supplies.
Now, the bank is seeking double the donors of all blood types to make up for the shortage, said spokesperson Lynn Stedd.
The saline scarcity was caused by a worse than normal flu season in the past two months. Dehydrated patients needed a large amount of intravenous saline at the same time that saline manufacturers were normally closed for the holidays.
In case of a shortage, hospitals and dialysis centers have first saline priority. The FDA, which is working with manufacturers, promised a resolution by the second quarter of 2014, but until then, the bank says long-term blood shortages will continue without community support.
According to Stedd, the drop in donations has limited the blood available for local hospital patients, especially in types O-, A-, B- and O+.
If you want to donate blood, visit SanDiegoBloodBank.org or call 1-800-469-7322 for the nearest donor center or bloodmobile.