The San Diego Blood Bank said Saturday it is experiencing a critical shortage of O positive and O negative blood and is asking people with type O blood to donate as soon as possible.

Type O positive is the most common blood type, and needed by many hospital patients, the blood bank said in a statement.

Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be given to any patient, and is often used in emergency rooms when there is no time to determine the blood type of the patient.

“Coming out of the holiday season, we typically see a decrease in donations of all types at this time due to schools being out of session for the holidays and seasonal illnesses like the flu,” said David Wellis, San Diego Blood Bank CEO. “The need for type O blood has hit a critically low level and we need the community to help us keep a safe supply for local hospital patients.”

The blood bank has six donor centers throughout San Diego County and blood mobiles out in the community.

To be eligible to donate blood you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in general good health. Anyone who is eligible to donate blood and has O negative or O positive type blood is encouraged to make an appointment at or by calling 1-800-4MY-SDBB. Walk-ins are also welcome.

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