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updated: 12/11/2013 2:38 PM

No holiday break for blood donors

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Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

Barrington, IL - During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, blood donations decline. And with more than 41,000 blood donations needed every day in the U.S., the need does not change during this time.

Dr. Joseph Giangrasso, medical director of the emergency department at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., hopes that people will take the time to donate blood this holiday season.

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"Donating blood is a great way to give a holiday gift to a complete stranger," he says. "Your body holds approximately five liters of blood and is able to replenish the volume donated in less than 24 hours."

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds and more than 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.

"Donating blood is one of the easiest ways to give back to others and is also extremely safe," Dr. Giangrasso says. "The need for blood always exceeds the available supply."

The American Red Cross assures that donating blood is a safe and sterile process. The following steps are completed during a blood donation visit:

• Registration

• Medical history evaluation

• A mini-physical is administered, checking temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin.

• Blood donation

• Refreshments and rest before leaving

The criteria to donate blood includes passing the medical history and mini-physical evaluation and you must be over age 16 and weigh more than 110 pounds.

Dr. Giangrasso advises that if you have any questions or concerns about blood donation, discuss them with your primary care physician.

If you are considering becoming a blood donor, click here for more information and to find a local blood drive near you.

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