Among the good reasons for getting a flu shot is to keep yourself healthy enough to be there for the folks who need you this time of year. That is true in a larger sense when it comes to those in need of donated blood — and there are many more than we may think.

According to blood banks, blood levels are at a critical low after the holidays — partly because the flu season is now at full roar. (Donors must show no flu symptoms for at least one week before giving blood).

Many blood banks have only about half the stock they hope to keep on hand to deal with the need at this time of year.

Many of us are familiar with the work of the America Red Cross, of course. And they, too are always in need of healthy blood donors. Think for a moment about any friends or family who have recently been in need of blood or blood products. Imagine if the supply simply wasn’t there.

If you are healthy and eligible to donate, you can make that difference.

If you want to check with the Red Cross for local blood drives, go to redcrossblood.org.

Again, if you are healthy and meet all the requirements, it’s tough to come up with an excuse to avoid giving blood.

Don’t be a chicken about it. You never know who might need you.

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