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Nationwide Saline Shortage Cuts Into San Diego Blood Supply

The San Diego Blood Bank on Thursday put out a call for donations because a nationwide shortage of saline is cutting into the local blood supply.

Blood bank officials say they use saline to hydrate donors who give twice the usual amount of red blood cells, but the substance is hard to find because so many flu victims around the U.S. are going to hospitals because of dehydration.

The spike in saline demand came when manufacturers were closed for the holidays, and now that production is back underway, hospitals and dialysis centers have top priority in getting orders filled, according to the SDBB.


The organization said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with the manufacturers to end the saline shortage by spring.

Because the blood bank can't accommodate double-donors, it needs more regular donors.

Healthy people over age 17 can donate blood to offset the loss of double red cell donations.

A blood drive is scheduled for Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m., at Drew Ford, 8970 La Mesa Blvd.

Bloodmobile or donor center locations are listed online at, or by phone at (800) 469-7322.