The blood supply at Harris Methodist Erath County is short.

“Our stock is not up,” said Debbie Higgins, blood bank team leader. “Normally we would have 25 units of O-positive blood on hand and we have 16. O-negative is the universal donor because it can be given to anyone and we have eight units.”

Higgins said the hospital’s supplier is Carter BloodCare in Fort Worth, and they are short, too.

“We can get more if we need it,” Higgins said. “We just have to let them know and they will send when it’s needed.”

Suzy Miller, public relations director for Carter BloodCare, said for reasons unknown, an unusually high amount of usage occurred last week in area hospitals.

“January is typically a low month for donations,” Miller said.

With inclement weather creating slick roads and causing more accidents, trauma usage is likely to go up, Miller said.

“We’re urging everyone who can donate to do so as soon as possible,” Miller said.

Rapid replenishment is vital, she said.

The hospital will hold a blood drive from 12:30 - 7 p.m Monday.

Giving blood is easy, and it only takes about an hour. You must be at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and feel well, Miller said.

Even if you take medications most of the time, you can still give blood, Miller said. Two medications you cannot give blood with are blood thinners and antibiotics. Cholesterol and allergy meds are acceptable. Even diabetics can give blood, Miller said.

Those that are permanently disqualified from donating blood are people with AIDS/HIV infection or exposure risk factors to HIV infection, heart attack or stroke victims, or those with a history of drug abuse, among other factors that are less common.

Blood can also be donated every Tuesday at the First United Methodist Church on Washington Street from 2 to 6 p.m. It is necessary to call the blood bank at 1-800-DONATE4 to make an appointment to give at the church.

More information may be obtained for area blood drives on www.carterbloodcare.org

ANGELIA JOINER is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at (254) 965-3124, ext. 238 or angelia.joiner@empiretribune.com