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Blood Donations Down Nationwide, OBI Asking For Donors

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A three day supply is normally where OBI wants to be, but with winter approaching, the need for blood is up. A three day supply is normally where OBI wants to be, but with winter approaching, the need for blood is up.
OBI says if you've had the flu, even H1N1, you are encouraged to donate blood as long as you feel healthy. OBI says if you've had the flu, even H1N1, you are encouraged to donate blood as long as you feel healthy.

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Is America’s blood supply the latest victim of the H1N1 virus?

There has been a three-percent drop in blood donations nationwide since this summer's outbreak. Health leaders suspect flu myths are largely to blame for the drop, but in Oklahoma, officials are more concerned about falling temperatures than the flu.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute has mobile blood drives 40 times a month.

“The need to donate blood is constant,” said Sara Wilson, Oklahoma Blood Institute.

There have been 27 deaths in Oklahoma attributed to complications from the swine flu. The death toll rises to 28 when you include a Kay County man who died before the state started keeping track. OBI says if you've had the flu, even H1N1, you are encouraged to donate blood as long as you feel healthy. 

And if you've received the H1N1 shot or nasal mist vaccine, you can still donate almost immediately, as long as you feel fine.

Although there has been a three-percent donation drop nationwide, donations in Oklahoma remain above the average.

“Oklahoma Blood Institute has not seen any major effect, or change in our ability to collect blood, or the availability of it. We continue to be able to maintain a three day supply,” said Wilson.

A three day supply is normally where OBI wants to be, but with winter approaching, the need for blood is up. 

The Oklahoma ice storms of 2007 cost the Red Cross 500 units of blood, mainly because people couldn't get out, donate and replenish the supply.

“And particularly as we're approaching Thanksgiving, the need to donate before and after the holidays is always very important to us,” said Wilson.

Donors get checked out before they donate. Nurses take their blood pressure, heart rate and their iron count. 

With families getting together for Thanksgiving, Wilson says it’s a perfect time to get vaccinated and also to donate. The pre-donation screening takes about 20 minutes. Then the blood is held for a few days, as it gets checked for infectious diseases and HIV. 

Wilson says she hopes the prominence of flu this holiday season won't stop the public from staying in the giving spirit.

11/14/2009  Related Story: College Students Come Home To Get H1N1 Vaccination

 

 

 

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