Severe Flu Season Impacting Valley Blood Donations

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MCALLEN – The flu and other illnesses are having an impact on blood donations here in the Rio Grande Valley. The need for donations is greater than previous years around this time.

Whether it's the flu, a cold or just overall not feeling well you cannot give blood. Freeman Franks, a blood donor, just recovered from an illness last week.

"I was sick from the beginning of January through just last week, but it was upper respiratory infection and not the flu, so I was lucky," said Franks

While Franks is feeling healthy, he’s giving blood for those who can't.

"In our church, there's a number of people who have the flu and stuff like that and at the school where my grandson goes, there are a lot of people getting sick," said Franks.

Right now, the rises in illnesses, such as the flu, are having an impact on blood donations.

"What we're getting is a lot of is, 'yes I'm not feeling well or I'm just getting over the flu.' and so they can't donate," said Frank Esparza the United Blood Services regional director.

Esparza said donations always take a hit during flu season, not only is this year no exception he said it's the worst he's seen.

"It's been more difficult because there is a lot of people out there sick whether it's the cold or flu or they just have symptoms," said Esparza.

If you want to give blood Esparza says you need to be at 100 percent.

"They feel well and they are generally in good health, they can give blood," said Esparza.

Franks says he will continue to give blood as much as he can to help make up for those who can't.

Esparza says right now the biggest need is for O negative blood.

If one of their centers is low on blood he says they get some from their sister locations.

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