DETROIT (WWJ) – Michigan blood supplies are already at critical levels, but the current heat wave is complicating matters by keeping traditional donors at home.

Monica Stoneking, of the American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Service Region, said all blood types are needed, but many donors who are vulnerable to the heat are staying home.

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“Typically during the summer we see a slump in blood donations anyway, but this summer is the worst in about 12 years. Usually during the summer, we have a need for type O-negative but this summer it is all blood types that we are in critical need of,” she said.

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One pint of donated blood can save up to three lives. In the U.S., over five million patients need blood transfusions every year.

Stoneking urges those who can get out and are eligible to give to do so, since donation centers are air-conditioned. She said eligible donors must be 17-years-old, meet the height and weight requirements, and be in general good health.

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Potential donors can check their website for specific eligibility details and to find a collection center nearest them. For more information, visit www.redcrossblood.org.