OBI Blood Shortage Concerns During Flu Season


Thursday, January 15th 2015, 5:47 pm
By: News 9


The health department has reported nine new deaths brought on by the flu, bringing the total to 31 this season. Additionally, more than 1,000 people have been hospitalized.

As the number of flu cases climb, the number of people donating blood is on the decline.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) cannot take potential donors who are suffering from symptoms of the flu.

"We take your temperature and so we are going to know if you have a fever and thats going to make you ineligible to donate," Leslie Gamble said on behalf of OBI.

There is a concern the number of flu cases could eventually lead to a shortage of blood at donation centers.

"The Oklahoma Blood Institute always knows there's going to be a challenge during these months when the flu and cold season hits," said Gamble.

She said the blood storage levels are good, right now, but that can change in a day.

In fact, OBI reports a 9% decrease in donors due to flu and cold season.

OBI is relying heavily on healthy donors and regulars like Ron Valentine.

"It is real easy and it doesn't take that long." Valentine has donated every other week for 20 years and is encouraging others to do the same." "I feel like there are too many people that don't give, that can give. Blood is an important thing without it lives would be lost."

If you would like to donate, find a donation center near you.