Sherry Franckowitz said, "When I say depleted I mean we don't have anything on the shelf, we've used all the blood supply that we have. I'm talking about platelets."
Lifeshare donor recruiter Sherry Francowitz says the early onset of the seasonal and H1N1 flu viruses is making it harder to find whole blood and platelet donors.
Franckowitz said, "Platelets are something someone having a surgery, chemo, a cancer patient, they use platelets, and our population in this area has a high number of cancer patients. That's a blood component thats used daily and we're depleting our supply."
According to the Center for Disease Control, Louisiana is one of 23 states reporting widespread influenza, a month before flu season typically peaks. She says they always have a tough time during flu season, just not this early.
Francowitz said, "Before donors can give, they have to fill out this questionnaire. The first question asks if you're feeling healthy and well, the second, are you taking any antibiotics. If someone is showing flu-like symptoms or answers yes to either question, that could stop them from giving blood."
Francowitz says the center is hurting because too many of their regular donors are out with or recovering from the flu. And since sick people can't give blood, Lifeshare is reaching out to those who give very little or not at all.
Francowitz said, "Hopefully, people that don't donate on a regular basis will step up and come out and help. It could be their loved one or their neighbor, you don't know you just need to step up."