MANATEE -- Is your blood type O negative and positive?
Or A and B positive?
Then the Suncoast Communities Blood Bank needs you.
The advent and impact of flu season, one of the worst in 10 years according to published reports, has delivered a double-whammy to the organization's blood supply, said its officials.
On one hand, it has substantially aggravated the need for blood products. On the other, it has also diminished the quantity of blood donors.
Such shortages of blood may result in cancellations for surgery, the inability to treat trauma patients and affect therapy.
"We are appealing to the public for help because we are experiencing critically low levels," said Jayne Giroux, a Suncoast Communities Blood Bank spokeswoman. "We need to collect 125 units a day, but we're getting between 80-90, instead.
"We've had blood drives canceled because people are out with flu. It's also impacted walkups tremendously. Normally our beds here are full, but they're empty. People are not donating because of flu."
Anyone with blood types O negative and positive, as well as A and B positive, are encouraged to donate starting Wednesday to restore the levels necessary for critical hospital services. SCBB has
donor centers in Sarasota, Venice, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Arcadia. Nine bloodmobiles are also stationed throughout these communities.
Donors may call 1-866-97BLOOD or visit www.scbb.org.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter:@vinmannix