If you can give blood and aren't under-the-weather, you may want to consider rolling up your sleeve. That's because this year's cold and flu season is taking a toll on donor numbers.
To be honest, blood bank officials usually aren't in a position to turn down donors. In fact, they usually only turn away 10 percent of those who show up here willing to open a vein. But as you are about to see, nothing around here lately is business as usual.
Don't let the blood in this tube fool you. It's a sight Community Blood Bank officials aren't seeing nearly enough of
Community Blood Bank Donor Recruitment Representative, Rita Nelson explains, "We usually need about 550 units every week to meet the demands here and it's probably been down to...oh, closer to 475."
That's a loss of nearly 100 units of blood every week for the past few weeks. And that's just in the Sioux Falls area.
The story's the same all across KELOLAND.
Nelson says, "The flu season has hit us. And so we have a lot of donors who can't donate."
Community Blood Bank Executive Director, Ken Versteeg adds, "What we've been seeing is we've been seeing an increase in deferrals by about 30 percent."
That's about three times the number of people turned away at any other time of the year. And while each donor only needs to give one unit of blood, that unit could help up to three people. So why are blood banks turning away potential suppliers?
Nelson says, "Well, if you have a virus and you donate blood, you could pass it to the patient and the patient does not need another infection or something like that."
Which is why before you walk in their door and roll up your sleeve, officials would like you to skip the trip as long as you notice these signs.
Versteeg says, "Just the simple cold and flu symptoms. Maybe a runny nose, post nasal drip, something like that. Itchy eyes not related to allergies. Something like that would be areas of concern."
And if you're not sick, that could very well be a sign to squeeze the blood bank into your schedule.
Nelson says, "Within a half an hour you can come in and help three people's lives."
If you'd like to help with the dwindling donor supply, we've got the perfect opportunity for you at this weekend's Health & Fitness Fair. The Blood Mobile will be on hand at the Empire Mall from 9 o’clock Friday morning, until 3 P.M. We hope you'll join us for that and more.
You can also donate at any of these locations:
Sanford Medical Center
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
7 AM - 5 PM
9 AM - 7 PM
Avera McKennan Hospital
Monday - Thursday
9 AM - 7 PM
8 AM - 4 PM
Upcoming Blood Drives
Chamberlain Fire Station
Monday, March 17
10 AM - 6 PM
TriValley High School
Monday, March 17
7:30 AM - 3 PM
Complete List of Blood Drives
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