Summer is in full swing and so is Fourth of July travel season. With all the festivities going on, it's easy to forget the importance of giving blood. That's why Mercy Health is reminding folks in the Valley to do their part to help with the cause.

Mercy Health Youngstown Director of Laboratory Services Alison Kovach tells 21 News the summer is prime time for patients to need blood donations thanks to vacations, travel and recreational activities.

"The summer brings an increase in accidents and traumas which do tend to use more blood products. Recreational vehicles are out on the road [such as] motorcycles, ATVs, off-road vehicles. Usage does increase with the warm weather, therefore we see more accidents," Alison said.

But with the increase in demand lies the lack of supply due to a dip in participation in blood drives during the summer.

Kovach explains this happens for a variety of reasons including schools not having blood drives over the summer and people being busy traveling for the holidays. Therefore, laboratories will have less product coming in.

"One of the things from a laboratory standpoint is we cannot increase our inventory ahead of time because blood products have a limited expiration date. For instance, platelets will expire three days from receipts and packed red blood cells only last four to five weeks," Kovach said.

If you'd like to get involved and donate blood, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or click here

Additionally, Mercy Health will be hosting a blood drive on Thursday, June 11 at St. Joe's Warren Hospital between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.