Flu season impacts blood supply


From Contributed Reports

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Due to widespread flu and illness, The Blood Connection is experiencing low donor turnout and this is affecting blood inventory and the ability to provide blood products to local hospitals.

The Blood Connection is urging healthy donors — first time donors and regular donors — to help fill in during this time of shortages. All blood types are needed, especially O negative because it can be transfused to almost any patient in need. O negative is recognized as the universal type, although only 7 percent of the population has it.

Medical Director Dr. Robert Rainer describes the need as a matter of math.

“When donors are unable to keep their scheduled appointments because of the flu, the community blood supply drops,” said Rainer, who oversees medical and technical processes and procedures that ensure the care and safety of donors and transfusion recipients. “There are patients undergoing surgery, receiving cancer treatment and organ transplants, who are depending on donated blood, in addition to the unexpected traumas seen at hospitals on a daily basis. When demand outweighs supply, the lives of these patients are at risk.”

All donation centers are open and operating as normal. The Blood Connection also welcomes businesses and organizations that may be able to host a blood drive. To sponsor a blood drive, call 864-751-3019.

Donors can find a local blood drive by visiting The Blood Connection’s website at https://donate.thebloodconnection.org/donor/schedules/geo

The Blood Connection’s mission is to ensure all hospital partners have the blood supplies needed for patients at any given time. Blood donors must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be 17 years old or 16 with written parental consent.

Founded as Greenville Blood Assurance in 1962, The Blood Connection is an independently managed, nonprofit 501(c)3 community blood center responsible for providing a safe and sustainable blood supply to more than 75 hospital partners in over 50 counties throughout the Carolinas and Georgia.