The flu epidemic affecting Oklahoma is negatively impacting the blood supply.  Because so many regular donors are ill, or taking care of sick family members, they’ve been unable to give blood.  Additionally, the widespread flu is forcing school closures.  High schools account for about 20 percent of Oklahoma Blood institute’s blood donations, and parents are unable to keep their blood donation appointments.  All of this puts even more strain on the blood supply.

Oklahoma Blood Institute is urging all healthy adults, ages sixteen and up*, to give blood.  Blood donors who have been diagnosed with flu should wait seven days since their last symptoms to give blood.  Donors may give blood the same day they receive a flu vaccine.

Beginning February 1, all Oklahoma Blood Institute blood donors will receive their choice of a new, trendy t-shirt in one of three featured colors, “Strong” olive, “Bold” maroon, or “Fearless” teal. 

“The flu has hit our state particularly hard, but the need for blood remains constant, and there is no substitute,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “That’s why we are calling on all donors who are able to give blood, or those who have never given before, to stop by one of our donor centers or mobile blood drives.  If you have recovered from the flu, or been unaffected by it, we urge you to use your good health to save lives today.”

Only ten percent of people in the United States who are eligible to give blood actually do.  Blood donation takes only about an hour, and each donation can save the lives of up to three patients. 

As the nation’s 9th largest non-profit blood center, Oklahoma Blood Institute serves more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities, and air ambulances statewide. Appointments to give blood aren’t required but can be made by calling 877.340.8777 or visiting obi.org.