A trio of respiratory illnesses is to blame for a decrease in blood donors across the Tennessee Valley, according to Blood Assurance.
"As cases of the flu, RSV and COVID-19 overwhelm hospitals, the community blood bank had less than a one-day’s supply of O-positive blood and a day’s worth of O-negative, A-negative and B-negative blood, as of Tuesday," officials said.
According to officials with the nonprofit, multiple mobile blood drives are being cancelled at businesses due to employees calling out sick. Additionally, the nonprofit is seeing fewer donors at its brick-and-mortar donation centers, with many postponing or cancelling due to illness.
“It’s quite alarming because it’s not even winter yet,” said Christopher Swafford, chief operating officer for Blood Assurance. “You add these illnesses into the mix along with holiday travel, and it’s just a perfect storm. I fear things are going to get worse before they get better, which is why it’s imperative for donors to show up now and help replenish the community blood supply.”
Healthy donors are urged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible by visiting www.bloodassurance.org/schedule. Those who received their annual flu shot are permitted to donate, as well as those vaccinated against COVID-19.
Through the end of the month, all donors will receive a free football-themed, long sleeve t-shirt. Beginning in December, donors will be given a complimentary flannel blanket. Donors can learn more about additional incentives being offered by visiting www.bloodassurance.org.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating. Walk-ins are always welcome.