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Blood donors needed as threat of hurricane looms

Two blood drives planned for Thursday, Sept. 7

September 6, 2017
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

With the threat of Hurricane Irma looming, Lee Health is urging those who can to donate blood in order to ensure adequate supply before, during and after the storm. The system needs all types of blood, but O negative is important because it is universal, meaning it can be transfused to almost any patient in need. There will be two blood drives on Thursday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the following locations: Lowe's, 14960 Tamiami Trail (off Gladiolus), Fort Myers and Lowe's, 285 SW 25th Lane, Cape Coral.

The need for blood is constant, as Lee Health transfuses nearly 500 units of blood each week.

"The health system needs blood for surgeries-like trauma, orthopedic, gynecologic and open-heart surgeries-as well as for adult and pediatric hematology/oncology patients who need red blood cells and platelets," explained Jeremy Puckett, Supervisor, Lee Health Blood Centers. "Add in natural disasters, like hurricanes, and the need for blood can really fluctuate."

From one donation-just one pint of blood-Lee Health Blood Centers can separate the platelets, the red blood cells and the plasma to help three people suffering from various diseases or traumas.

In order to donate blood, you must:

Be in general good health

Be at least 17 years of age, or 16 years of age with parental consent

Weigh at least 115 pounds

Have adequate iron levels

Additionally, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) changed the blood donation policy for men who have had sex with other men from a lifetime deferral to a 12-month deferral. Meaning, males who have not been sexually active with another male for 12 months are eligible to donate blood. This change is based on several years of research and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

For more information, or to make a donation anytime, call 239-343-2333.



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