Worse-than-expected flu season affects blood donations in northern Nevada

Worse-than-expected flu season affects blood donations in northern Nevada

This year's cold and flu season has been especially worse than usual, which is impacting blood donations across the country including northern Nevada.

Seven flu-related deaths have been reported so far in Washoe County, according to a health district spokesman.

Since the start of 2018, donation appointment cancellations at United Blood Services blood centers in Reno, Sparks and Carson City have increased due to the intense cold and flu season.

In addition to the rise in canceled appointments, community blood drives throughout northern Nevada are collecting much less blood than anticipated through the first eight days of 2018.

Reports of illness from volunteer blood drive chairpersons have also been on the rise, resulting in lower donor attendance rates and causing additional concern for the collection trend in January.

United Blood Services encourages anyone who is healthy and able to donate to make an appointment by clicking here or by calling 800-696-4484.

All blood types are accepted with a critical emphasis on O-negative blood types.

O-negative Blood Type is the universal blood type and can be transfused to any patient. This blood type is often used in emergency situations when doctors do not have time to check a patients’ blood type before transfusion.

Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors ages 16 – 17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.

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