Flu, full hospitals bring local blood supplies to critical levels

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Local blood supplies are at critical levels with the flu season, full hospitals and weather taking a toll, according to Bloodworks Northwest.

A critical level is considered to be less than a one day supply, with a four-day supply considered normal. Most donated blood is used for patients having surgery, cancer treatment or organ transplants, and a one-day supply means there is a risk that all patients’ needs for blood cannot be met.

Bloodworks, which supports more than 90 hospitals in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, is asking for healthy donors to give blood at one of their locations.

The shortage in the Pacific Northwest is part of a nationwide trend, with centers across many regions reporting acute shortages.

"Blood donations in the first two weeks of 2017 fell far below normal, with collections at 1,500 units below what patients need," said James P. AuBuchon, MD, president and CEO. "With regular donors down with the flu or colds, we need others to step forward to help fill this emergency need."

"All blood types are needed. If you are healthy and haven't donated recently, or if you are a first time donor, we need you now," he said.

Donors are urged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible at any one of Bloodworks' 12 donor centers by going online at schedule.bloodworksnw.org  or by calling 1-800-398-7888.

People can also can check online at bloodworksnw.org for donation criteria, and to find dates and times of mobile blood drives close to where they live or work.

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