Flu causing shortage of blood in parts of Texas

West and East Texas are reportedly suffering from blood shortages, desperately needing O-type blood donors.

UTHealth and UT Physicians pathologist and specialist in transfusion medicine, Dr. Yao Ma, who is also an attending physician for the Harris Health System and Memorial Hermann -Texas Medical Center, said people with colds, the flu, or other illnesses are unable to donate blood.

"If you have the flu and you pass it on to somebody who's immune (system) is suppressed, the flu can be devastating to an individual who is not prepared to deal with the disease," said Ma.

UT Health pathologist Dr. Yao Ma says people with colds, the flu, or other illnesses are unable to donate blood.

He said there's no way to know if the recipient has a compromised immune system, or is for the very young or very old.

"The flu, like most diseases, can be passed through the blood if the virus is present in the blood, and so you can potentially pass the virus to a recipient," said Ma.

Central and South Texas seem to be fairing fine.

Joshua Buckley with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center said they are not suffering from a blood donation shortage due to the flu.

"In fact, our donors were amazing during the holiday season and came out in great numbers to donate. We thank all of our donors who make the time to Commit for Life and ensure we have an adequate supply of blood for all of our patients and 170 healthcare facilities we provide blood products to,” wrote Buckley in an e-mail.

January is National Blood Donor Month.

INDIA-HEALTH-BLOOD

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