Changes to Donor Eligibility Requirements Allow More People to Give Blood

Arkansas Blood Institute is Calling on Donors of All Blood Types to Give

February 19 (LITTLE ROCK) – As winter weather and resulting blood drive cancelations severely impact the supply of life-saving blood, Arkansas Blood Institute is alerting potential donors that new eligibility rules allow more people to give the gift of life. Many veterans, healthcare workers and other civic minded individuals who were disqualified in the past are now cleared to donate again. 

    Due to the nationwide blood shortage in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently revised a number of eligibility requirements for volunteer blood donors:
  • Those who spent extended time in many European countries are now no longer deferred due to Mad Cow Disease risks. This change will likely allow many veterans and military personnel to donate blood.
    Individuals in the following groups will remain deferred because of European residency:
  • Those who spent three months or more in the United Kingdom from 1980-1996
  • Those who spent five years or more in France or Ireland from 1980-2001
    The following now only have a three-month deferral period (these were previously 12- month deferrals):
  • Tattoos, ear piercings, and body piercings from unlicensed or unlisted facilities
  • Blood transfusions
  • Accidental needle stick or splash for health care workers
  • Travel to malarial-endemic areas

Additionally, many donors are unsure if they can donate with some common health conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure or thyroid disease are often not obstacles to giving blood. Donors who have received the COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) face no waiting time before giving blood or platelets.

Arkansas Blood Institute has set up a hotline for donors who are unsure of their eligibility. Donors are asked to call 405-419-1538 with questions about their eligibility. Answers to frequently asked questions are listed at arkbi.org/blood-donation/can-i-donate

“We’re excited to see the FDA use the latest scientific data to adjust deferral criteria, allowing us to welcome back many donors,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “Many donors who have previously been unable to give are now able to support the community blood supply that patients so desperately count on to recover from trauma, fight cancer, undergo surgery or battle life-threatening diseases.”

Arkansas Blood Institute is urging healthy adults age 16 or older of all blood types to give as soon as possible if they can safely visit a convenient donor center or mobile blood drive. Appointments to donate blood can be made at a donor center near you, finding a nearby blood drive, or by calling 877-340-8777. Walk-ins are welcome.

Alert: Emergency Blood Shortage, Donors Critically Needed

October 28, 2020 – Arkansas Blood Institute is experiencing an emergency blood shortage and is issuing an urgent call for donors of all blood types.

A rare ice storm affecting neighboring parts of the service area has caused additional closures and cancellations, adding to the already critical problem of continuous blood drive cancellations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Arkansas Blood Institute is seeing a significant downturn in donations and has exhausted typical recruitment efforts.

Arkansas Blood Institute’s life-saving stock of blood has reached a less-than-one-day supply. Typically, Arkansas Blood Institute maintains a three- to five-day supply for local hospitals.

“COVID-19 has put tremendous strain on the blood supply for months, but this unseasonable inclement weather was the real catalyst for a blood emergency,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “The need for blood is constant - someone needs a life-saving transfusion every two seconds. We are calling on all healthy Arkansans to take about an hour of their time to give blood for our friends and neighbors in need.”

Arkansas Blood Institute encourages all Arkansans, age 16 and older, to donate blood as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment to give blood, call 1-877-340-8777 or find a blood drive near you.

You can also stop by one of our donor centers in:
Fort Smith
Hot Springs
Little Rock
North Little Rock
Russellville

All donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies to identify potential convalescent plasma donors.* Blood drives will be managed according to CDC safety recommendations.

Volunteer donors with Arkansas Blood Institute exclusively provide every drop of blood needed for patients in 40 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide. One donation saves up to three lives. Arkansas Blood Institute depends on an average of 1,200 donors per day to meet the needs of patients in our state. These patients rely on blood to survive an emergency injury or illness, or for ongoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening diseases and conditions.


*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID required.  Donors ages 16 or 17-years old need parental consent to be screened for COVID-19 antibodies and are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma. This test has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) for use by authorized laboratories. The test has been authorized only for the detection of the IgG antibody against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. Blood drives will be managed according to CDC safety recommendations. Test results will be made available post-donation.

Arkansas Blood Institute Testing Blood Donations for COVID-19 Antibodies

Arkansas Blood Institute announced will provide free COVID-19 antibody tests for all blood donors eighteen and older. Arkansas Blood Institute is the first blood center in the state to offer COVID-19 antibody screening service to its donors.

This testing initiative, provided at all donor centers and mobile blood drives, comes in the wake of an immediate need for blood donations due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. Healthy donors are urged to give blood, and appointments are encouraged to allow for recommended social distancing. Donors are also required to wear masks. If you do not have one, we will provide one for you.

After 48-72 hours, donors may access their result online at yourbloodinstitute.org by setting up a donor portal log-in. (Look up donor ID- email you provided us is required).

Please call 877-340-8777 or email customerservice@obi.org if you have a question about your result. If you had tubes drawn without a blood donation (non-donor testing), you may also check your result on yourbloodinstitute.org.

Arkansas Blood Institute’s medical laboratory technicians will test each blood sample. A tube will be drawn at the time of donation. Donors may opt out of the antibody test.*

Arkansas Blood Institute’s donor center and mobile blood drives have instituted additional cleaning methods, decontaminating work and common areas and equipment frequently. In addition, donor centers and mobile blood drives have been adapted to allow for social distancing. All phlebotomy staff will wear masks. Staff members and donors will also have their temperatures taken before starting work or entering the facility.  Donors are required to wear masks, and if you do not have one, one will be provided for you.

Arkansas Blood Institute is following safety recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Arkansas Blood Institute is committed to maintaining the safest standards for blood collection, testing and transfusion.

Arkansas Blood Institute supports the inventory for patients in more than 40 hospitals across the state. Appointments can be made by calling 1-877-340-8777, or clicking here to find a blood drive near you.

Or you can stop by one of our donor centers:
Fort Smith
Hot Springs
Little Rock
North Little Rock
Russellville

*To give blood, 16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds. Must be 18 or older to receive antibody test. This test has not been reviewed by the FDA and is not intended for diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.  Donors ages 16 or 17-years old need parental consent to be screened for COVID-19 antibodies and are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma. Please download the antibody screening consent form here. This test has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) for use by authorized laboratories. The test has been authorized only for the detection of the IgG antibody against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. Blood drives will be managed according to CDC safety recommendations. Test results will be made available post-donation.

COVID-19: Arkansas Blood Institute Urges Donations Amid Concerns

Blood donation can’t wait.

Blood donation is safe and critically important, despite concerns surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19). Arkansas Blood Institute is, as always, committed to safety for our donors, patients, and communities, and we urge you to keep your scheduled appointments and continue to donate blood.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reports no cases of COVID-19 transmitted through blood transfusion, and respiratory viruses generally are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion.

“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA.

Find a blood drive.

Arkansas Blood Institute is following safety recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Arkansas Blood Institute is committed to maintaining the safest standards for blood collection, testing and transfusion. Our donor centers and blood drives practice rigorous safety and cleanliness standards. As Arkansas Blood Institute monitors this rapidly developing situation, we will immediately inform the community about any changes in procedures or processes.

Arkansas Blood Institute’s donor centers and mobile blood drives have instituted additional cleaning methods, decontaminating work and common areas and equipment frequently. In addition, phlebotomy and donor services staff will wear masks and donor centers and mobile blood drives have been adapted to allow for social distancing.

We respectfully require donors to wear a mask in the donor area, as a courtesy to other donors and staff. If you don’t have a mask, please ask our staff and one will be provided for you. Thank you for your help in protecting others! All staff and donors will also have their temperatures taken before starting work or entering the facility. We are limiting the number of donors in the donor area, to allow for social distancing. If the donor area is full, please give us your cell phone number and we will call you when you’re ready to enter.

In an abundance of caution, we ask that donors refrain from giving blood if they have been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19, unless it’s been 14 days since the complete resolution of symptoms; or if they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, but never developed symptoms, unless it’s been 14 days since the positive test.

Dr. Tuan Le, Chief Medical Officer of Arkansas Blood Institute, stresses:

  • Practice cough & sneeze etiquette
  • Stay home when sick
  • Clean hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face after touching surfaces

As COVID-19 and resulting concerns continue to spread, additional challenges to the blood supply have occurred, including canceled and postponed blood drives. Arkansas Blood Institute depends on 1,200 donors per day to support the inventory needed for patients in more than 40 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide and across the region.  

“Blood is a perishable product and we need constant donations not only to meet our community needs, but in case of local and national emergencies,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “We urge healthy adults to continue their regular blood donations so the lifesaving supply can be maintained for our local patients who depend on blood products during treatment for cancer, traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions.”


“During routine blood donation screening, we ask donors if they are feeling well and healthy at the time of their donation,” said Dr. Le. “We always ask that donors who are not feeling well refrain from giving blood until they’re healthy.”

Blood donation typically takes only about an hour, and one donation saves up to three lives. Appointments can be made by calling 1-877-340-8777 or clicking here or visiting a donor center listed below:

Fort Smith
Hot Springs
Little Rock
North Little Rock
Russellville

*To give blood, 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds

We're committed to your safety. We've instituted additional cleaning efforts, using EPA-approved cleaning solutions in high-touch, high-traffic areas. We take the temperaturs of all staff and donors entering any donation area to ensure they don't have a fever. Donor centers and mobile blood drives have been adjusted to allow space for social distancing.















Follow Arkansas Blood Institute’s social media platforms for developments on the situation:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

NEW QUESTION: Can I give blood if I've received a COVID vaccine?

  • If you received any mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna), you can donate blood, platelets or traditional plasma without any deferral period.
  • Recipients of any COVID-19 vaccines are NOT eligible to donate convalescent plasma at this time, according to current FDA guidance. (Please note: conversations are ongoing about this issue, so guidance could change.)
  • If you received an adenovirus vector vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, etc), you can donate all blood products (except convalescent plasma) after a two-week deferral.
  • If you received a monoclonal antibodies (Regeneron or Eli Lilly), you are deferred for 12 months and not eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an acute respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that originated in China in December 2019. The illness causes symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath, but can be severe in some at-risk populations.

How do I keep from getting COVID-19?

COVID-19 is generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets like the common flu, so observing everyday preventative actions for respiratory diseases is critical: stay home if you’re sick, practice good sneeze/cough etiquette, wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer, and regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Will I be safe while donating blood?

Yes. Although we collect blood and blood products, we’re not a medical facility and ask only healthy donors to visit these locations to donate.

Is COVID-19 dangerous for blood donors?

No, the CDC has found no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through the blood or blood donations.

Can COVID-19 be transmitted through blood donation?

No, the CDC has found no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted either through a blood exposure or a blood donation. In similar respiratory illness outbreaks like SARS or MERS, no evidence of transmissions through blood products was seen.

Do you screen blood for COVID-19?

We don’t test for this illness, as the FDA has no approved screening test for blood donors and the illness is not shown to be transmitted through blood. Our testing laboratory is on the forefront of technology and conducts more than a dozen tests on each sample to ensure its safety. As a free service, we are testing blood for COVID-19 antibodies* for donors 18+ and will notify donors of their result. *This test has not been formally approved by the FDA and is not intended to establish a diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.

Do you have safety procedures in place for your donor centers and blood drives?

Our operating procedures meet strict FDA regulations and OSHA standards to ensure workplace safety. We encourage all staff, volunteers and donors to take routine preventative actions – as recommended by the CDC – to help prevent the spread of acute respiratory illnesses, like the seasonal flu and COVID-19. We've added additional cleaning procedures, shifted our donation areas to allow for social distancing and are taking the temperatures of each donor and employee who enter our donor areas to ensure they’re feeling well. Our donor services and phlebotomy staff are required to wear masks. We respectfully require donors to wear a mask in the donor area, as a courtesy to other donors and staff. If you don't have a mask, please ask our staff and one will be provided for you. Thank you for your help in protecting others!

Should donors wait to donate blood because of COVID-19?

No, please donate blood or platelets as you’re able. Blood is a perishable product that requires continual donations to ensure a healthy supply.

What is the organization doing about COVID-19?

Your Blood Institute’s executive management and medical staff have been monitoring the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19 since the first reported case in December 2019. We have been using resources within our blood organization’s networks of BCA (Blood Centers of America), ABC (America’s Blood Centers), and AABB (formerly American Associations of Blood Banks). In addition, we have been monitoring situation reports from the CDC and WHO, along with updates from the state public health departments in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas to track the local, regional, and national developments of COVID-19.

Who do I call if I have questions about the coronavirus or blood donation?

If you have questions about COVID-19 or the state’s response, please contact the Arkansas Department of Health by calling 800-803-7847, or for concerns involving children call 800-743-3616. If donors have questions about their planned blood donation, please contact our customer service line at 877-340-8777.

Has anything like this ever happened before? What were the results?

In the past, acute respiratory illness outbreaks like SARS (2002), H1N1 flu (2009), and MERS (2012) were contained due to prevention measures, public health interventions, medical detection, isolation and care of patients. In these outbreaks, no evidence was seen of blood transmission by the viruses. COVID-19 is an acute respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus, so research is ongoing into this virus’s specific transmission and effects in humans.

Are you observing social distancing?

Donor centers and mobile blood drives have been adjusted to allow space for social distancing. On bloodmobiles, staff are placing donors to allow for maximum distance between visitors. In addition, we strongly encourage appointments to be made to help us manage how many donors are present at one time. Donors can also wait in their vehicles after checking in with staff, if they prefer.

How are you making sure staff and donors are healthy?

As always, we ask only healthy staff and donors to come to our centers and mobile units. In addition, we screen all donor services staff at the beginning of their shift, taking temperatures to ensure no one has a fever or feels ill. All donors will also have their temperature taken before entering the blood donor area.

Should we be donating blood right now?

Yes! Donating blood is an essential health care activity and is critical to avoiding a blood supply crisis. For those wanting to help but don’t know where to start, donating blood is a safe and easy way to protect our communities in a time of need. As U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”

Arkansans Donate Convalescent Plasma to Help COVID-19 Patients Suffering Severe Symptoms

Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) is recognizing donors who have given convalescent plasma as part of an experimental initiative to use the product to treat patients suffering severe symptoms of COVID-19.

By creating a registry of available patients, Arkansas Blood Institute can ensure local patients receive the donated products and have the best possible chance at fighting the illness.

David Mangan, 57, of Hot Springs spent about 40 minutes at Arkansas Blood Institute in Little Rock, donating plasma after he recovered from COVID-19.

Mangan contracted coronavirus after returning from a ski trip in Colorado. He had mild to moderate symptoms, but his wife’s were severe. Mangan found an opportunity to help others through a convalescent plasma donation, which was used for a patient suffering from severe symptoms of COVID-19.

“I may not ever know who gets it, or what the results are, but knowing that I’ve done my part feels like I’m doing something good,” said Mangan.

david mangan

ABI Collects Its First Units of Convalescent Plasma from Recovered COVID-19 Patients

April 9, 2020 (OKLAHOMA CITY) – Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) has collected its first units of convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, part of an experimental initiative to treat seriously ill patients.

In a rapid response to the Food and Drug Administration’s action to fast track the potential treatment, ABI created a registry to catalog available recovered COVID-19 patients to serve as possible donors. The registry – which has been live less than a week – has already seen more than 20 patients sign up, one of whom was the first to donate plasma units.


“At Arkansas Blood Institute, we’ve always pursued innovation and emerging opportunities to improve health and save lives,” said John Armitage, MD, president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “Today, that innovation has allowed us to bring hope to patients and their medical teams as they explore this new treatment option.”

After collection, the plasma units will be processed and tested for safety. Once cleared for patient use, they will be transfused to critically ill patients at local partner hospitals as part of the experimental initiative.

“Our team is honored to be pioneering a cutting-edge treatment that allows special patients who have fought off COVID to use plasma donations to power recovery for other patients,” Armitage said. “Generosity is a natural strength of our species and now we can use it directly to defeat this terrible virus.”

Arkansas Blood Institute Pioneers First-of-its-Kind Donor Recognition Program

LITTLE ROCK, Aug. 2, 2018 – Whether given or received, words of gratitude can be powerful.

To harness the power of a simple “thank you,” Arkansas Blood Institute has pioneered Thank-The-Donor™, the nation’s first web-enabled technology that connects blood recipients with their donors while complying with medical privacy laws.

With this patent-pending technology, patients can send a note, photo or video to their donor using a smartphone, tablet or computer. The groundbreaking program breaks communication barriers with a new and different way to share a “thank you” while protecting the anonymity of both donor and patient. 

“Few patients who receive donated blood ever know or have the opportunity to offer their gratitude with their blood donors,” said John Armitage, M.D. president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute.  “Thank-The-Donor™ conveniently facilitates uplifting connectedness between a blood donor and recipient.”

Baptist Health in Little Rock was one of the first hospitals to launch the program earlier this year.  Now, a green, heart-shaped tag is affixed to every blood bag from Arkansas Blood Institute, encouraging recipients or their families to visit ThankTheDonor.org.

“Every three minutes in Arkansas an ill or injured patient requires a blood transfusion,” said Dr. Armitage. “Every drop of blood we provide comes from volunteer donations. Thousands of selfless Arkansans give this gift of life every year. While they don’t do it for the recognition, we hope this program will help show our donors just how special their donation is for the patient who receives it.”

Patients who receive blood products like red cells, plasma and platelets can use the Thank-The-Donor™ technology to express their appreciation to their donor.  Ben Evans needed blood from more than 40 donors during a life-threatening health crisis that left him hospitalized for 60 days.  He takes every opportunity he can to thank his blood donors for their priceless gift.

“Without those blood products, I wouldn’t have made it.  42 units of blood means a lot of people took an hour out of their day to help a complete stranger,” said Evans.  “I have had the opportunity to give blood twice since receiving it as my way of paying back those that gave me the chance at life—by ‘Paying it Forward’.”

Arkansas Blood Institute is part of the sixth largest nonprofit blood collector in the United States, serving more than 40 hospitals and medical facilities in Arkansas.

To learn more about Thank-The-Donor™, please go to ThankTheDonor.org.

 

Global Blood Fund Receives $25,000 Donation to Fight Bleeding Deaths

April 30, 2018-  Global Blood Fund (GBF), a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2008 with support from Arkansas Blood Institute received a generous $25,000 donation from Terumo BCT to combat the world transfusion crisis. 

Terumo BCT, a global leader in blood component, therapeutic apheresis and cellular technologies, is committed to advancing blood safety throughout the world.

The donated funds will be utilized for various projects to improve transfusion care in emergent nations.  Among its programs, GBF re-homes donated blood banking equipment, delivers and sponsors training programs, and supports efforts to reduce the stark inequalities in access to safe blood that exist between higher- and lower-income countries.

“We are very grateful to Terumo BCT for its leadership in supporting better transfusion care for the majority of people across the globe who cannot be assured that blood will be available for them when it is needed,” said John Armitage, M.D., CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute and Chair of GBF. “This gift will help fight the annual deaths of hundreds of thousands of women hemorrhaging during childbirth and young children under age five succumbing to malaria, injuries, other afflictions.”

Since its inception in 2008, GBF has supported transfusion-related initiatives in more than 40 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.  In 2017, the value of equipment donated approached $2 million and included multiple bloodmobiles sent to Africa and Mexico. Other recent endeavors include pan-African donor management workshops run in collaboration with the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT) and the opening of a rural blood bank in Laos.

“Terumo BCT and the Global Blood Fund share a commitment to serving patients by unlocking the potential of blood across the globe,” said Michael Lees, Terumo BCT, Vice President, Commercial, North America. “We are honored to support GBF’s work serving those patients most in need, in parts of the world that are still developing their blood transfusion capabilities across Africa, Latin America and Asia. Terumo BCT is proud to support GBF’s work to directly improve patient’s access to safe blood around the world.”

The Global Blood Fund is a US and UK registered non-profit with a mission to improve the safety and availability of transfusion care in resource-poor communities worldwide.  Since 2008 it has provided equipment and training to build donor recruitment and collection capacity so that blood can save lives wherever and whenever it is needed.  Please visit globalbloodfund.org for further details.

Terumo BCT, a global leader in blood component, therapeutic apheresis and cellular technologies, is the only company with the unique combination of apheresis collections, manual and automated whole blood processing and pathogen reduction technologies. We believe in the potential of blood to do even more for patients than it does today. This belief inspires our innovation and strengthens our collaboration with customers. Learn more at terumobct.com.

Arkansas Blood Institute Issues Urgent Call for Donors

February 22, 2018 – Winter weather that battered neighboring Oklahoma this week is critically impacting the supply of life-saving blood. Arkansas Blood Institute is asking donors of all blood types to give blood as soon as they can to help our friends in Oklahoma.*

“The urgency for patients is going to continue for the next several days until our inventory rebounds,” said Dr. John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute.  “We know we can rely on our donors who have the reputation of having a heart for helping neighbors in need.”

Due to the urgency of the situation, Arkansas Blood Institute has extended its hours at its donor centers in Fort Smith, Little Rock, and Hot Springs.  The centers will be open until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23 and until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24.  Donors can also give at any mobile drive.  Search for drives in your area by clicking here. 

As a non-profit blood center, Arkansas Blood Institute’s volunteer donors provide every drop of blood needed for patients in more than 40 hospitals statewide.

Appointments are not required but can be made by calling Arkansas Blood Institute at 877-340-8777 or clicking here.

*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.

Flu Epidemic Impacting Blood Supply, Healthy Blood Donors Needed Now

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ─  The flu epidemic affecting Arkansas is negatively impacting the blood supply.  Because so many of our regular donors are ill, or taking care of sick family members, they’ve been unable to give blood.  Additionally, the widespread flu is forcing some school closures, and parents are unable to keep their blood donation appointments.  All of this puts even more strain on the blood supply.

Arkansas 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 1st, all Arkansas 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 Arkansas 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 part of the nation’s 9th largest non-profit blood center, Arkansas Blood Institute serves more than 40 hospitals and medical facilities statewide.  Appointments to give blood aren’t required but can be made by calling 877.340.8777 or clicking here to schedule online.

Be sure to like and follow Arkansas Blood Institute on Facebook for more information on the flu and blood donation:

*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year-olds must weigh at least 110 pounds

 

Bob Grant