Flu and cold weather trigger blood emergency

January 20, 2015

SMC Hosting Blood Drive
    While the holidays typically bring a slowdown to blood donations, this winter’s flu epidemic and the cold weather in the Southeast cut even deeper into the blood supply. LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is now in emergency need for blood, and Springhill Medical Center is hosting a blood drive Jan. 20-22 in the SMC Heart Center Lobby.
    “This is coming at a time when supplies were already low because of reduced donations during the winter holidays,” said LifeSouth Vice President of Operations J.B. Bowles. “Meanwhile, blood usage at many of our hospitals is far above normal, making the shortage even more serious.”
     Donations are down 40 percent from where the supply needs to be to provide hospitals with enough blood for patients. This has especially impacted the supply of Type O blood which is needed most.
    “O-negative is the universal blood type that can be used by anyone in emergencies. O-positive can be used by anyone with a positive blood type,” said Bowles. “We are in desperate need of healthy donors to come out and donate blood.”
    The Centers for Disease Control reported in early January that 43 states, including Florida, Georgia and Alabama, are experiencing either high or widespread flu activity.
    “We are in emergency need. We only use this term when inventory levels are at the very lowest,” explained Bowles. “It means our hospitals have less than a two-day supply and LifeSouth does not have the blood available to resupply the hospitals when that blood is used. Please help. Please donate blood!"
    Donors must be 17 or older, or 16 with parental consent, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also required. For information call 888-795-2707.