Blood center sees decline in donations due to flu, cold weather

(Source: KSLA)
(Source: KSLA)
Updated: Feb. 14, 2018 at 7:49 PM CST
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(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - This year Louisiana experienced some of the worst flu outbreaks in the country.

A Life Share Blood Drive representative says the flu, combined with this winter's record-breaking low temperatures not only has people out of school and work, it's also stopping people from making their blood donation appointments.

"We've had a number of blood donors that had appointments scheduled and they had to call in and cancel those because they've had the flu and they let us know," said Tina Martinez a representative for the Life Share Blood Drive Center in Shreveport.

Martinez says around the Christmas holiday, they lost nearly 1,000 donors in a span of four weeks.

"It definitely has impacted the number of donations that have been made this year," Martinez added.

Jessie Henry is a volunteer firefighter and a member of the national guard. He is also one of the thousands of donors who had to reschedule because he got sick.

"The reason I didn't come in is because once you get that sick feeling and you lose a lot of fluids, you don't wanna go back and lose more fluids," said Henry.

Techs say while the numbers are beginning to increase, there is still a shortage of blood that should be sent to local hospitals.

"We have a big need in the hospitals and they're depending on us for our products, so we are trying to encourage them to come out to help us, to help the hospitals so that they can do their job in helping the public," said Joann Willis an Apheresis Technician.

The blood center encourages people to come out and donate 365 days a year.

"Well, there's a need for blood every single day of the year and in the winter time when we're having this flu and illnesses, there are fewer people who can give but there's often a need for even more people using the blood because a lot of people require blood when they go into the hospital," Martinez said.

They are asking anyone who may feel under the weather to come back when they are feeling better.

"If someone actually has the flu, you want to wait at least 72 hours until after those symptoms are gone and you are feeling good," Martinez said.

The blood center does conduct a health screening prior to the donation to check for any signs of illness.

Shreveport's Life Share Blood Drive location is at 8910 Linwood Avenue.

They're open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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