Because of its compatibility, O negative blood is often given in emergencies when there is insufficient time to determine the patient’s blood type. Antelope Valley Hospital officials noted that January was designated by the American Association of Blood Banks and the Red Cross as National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, in hopes of encouraging more people to donate blood. A healthy blood donor may donate as often as every 56 days, Antelope Valley Hospital officials said. The average adult’s circulatory system contains about 10 to 12 pints of blood, but only one pint is taken during a donation. The process takes about an hour. Potential donors must be at least 18 years old, or 17 with the written permission of a parent or guardian, in good health, and weigh at least 110 pounds. There is no upper age limit, as long as the donor is healthy and meets other requirements. Donors at the hospital blood center get a free cholesterol test with each donation. The hospital’s blood donor center is at the hospital, 1600 W. Ave. J, next to the laboratory in the Outpatient Services lobby. The center accepts donations Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the first and third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about the center, call (661) 949-5622. The American Red Cross’ Antelope Valley Chapter also hosts blood drives at churches, schools and other locations around the valley. The Red Cross blood mobile schedule for the remainder of January includes: Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Red Cross office, 2715 E. Ave. P, Palmdale. Monday, 1-7 p.m., Red Cross office, 2715 E. Ave. P, Palmdale. Tuesday, 1-7 p.m., Red Cross office, 2715 E. Ave. P, Palmdale. Tuesday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Air Force Research Laboratory, 9 Antares Road, Edwards Air Force Base. (Open only to people with access to the base.) Jan. 30, 1-7 p.m., Red Cross office, 2715 E. Ave. P, Palmdale. Jan. 31, 1-7 p.m., Red Cross office, 2715 E. Ave. P, Palmdale. Jan. 31, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Rosamond High School, 2925 Rosamond Blvd., Rosamond. For information on Red Cross blood drives, call the Palmdale office at (661) 267-0650. Charles F. Bostwick, (661) 267-5742 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – Blood donor center officials are hunting for donors, with O negative and B negative blood in especially short supply. Southern California has less than a one-day supply of those types, and about a one-day supply of O positive, the most common blood type, the American Red Cross said. “We are struggling so hard to get people in,” said Ellen Gaines, coordinator of the blood donor center at Antelope Valley Hospital. Maintaining an adequate blood supply is always a challenge, but January is among the toughest times to get donors, officials say. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card It is peak flu season, winter weather can deter donors from coming out, and school breaks mean fewer donations from high school and college students, who donate about 20 percent of Southern California’s blood. Antelope Valley Hospital’s Blood Donor Center opened in 1984 to serve the valley’s rapidly growing population. All the blood collected there stays in the Antelope Valley. The Red Cross says the shortage of O negative and B negative blood extends nationwide, meaning less blood is available for shipment to Southern California. The need is compounded by the fact that blood and blood products are perishable, and expire 42 days after donation, officials said. O negative is the “universal” blood type. It can be transfused into any patient regardless of his or her own blood type. Other blood types can only be transfused into patients with compatible blood types.