Officials of the American Red Cross' Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region are expressing concern about the combined effects of this week's wintry weather and widespread colds and flu on its organization's efforts to meet collection targets and patient need.
"More healthy blood donors of all blood types are needed, particularly those with type O negative and B negative blood. Colds and flu may be contributing factors to an increased number of donor appointment cancellations," said John Hagins, chief executive officer of Greater Alleghenies Region.
Upcoming local drives include:
Today: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wetzel County Hospital, 3 East Benjamin Drive, New Martinsville; and noon to 6 p.m., American Red Cross Blood Donation Center, 2000 Eoff St., Wheeling. Double red cells can be donated.
Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Franciscan University of Steubenville, JC Williams Center, 1235 University Blvd. Double red cells can be donated.
Thursday: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., New Manchester Elementary School, 128 Frankfort Road, New Cumberland.
Hagins said the extreme temperatures and periods of snow have resulted in blood drive cancellations and lower than usual donor turnout in many portions of the 100-county blood services region.
"Several blood drive sponsors have reported their usual donors have said the weather has prevented them from donating blood, Hagins added.
According to the Red Cross, 38 percent of the public is eligible to donate blood, while only a fraction of those eligible donate blood each year.
"Donating blood will not cause you to be more susceptible to the flu. Your resistance to the flu will not be compromised simply by giving blood. There is no waiting period to donate blood after receiving a flu vaccine, as long as you are feeling healthy and well the day of donation," he said.
To schedule an appointment to donate, call (800) 733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.