Flu Epidemic Hinders Blood Donations; ARUP Blood Services Asks Utahns to Help

Flu Epidemic Hinders Blood Donations; ARUP Blood Services Asks Utahns to Help

Dec 16, 2003 5:00 PM

Blood donations usually decrease during the holidays, but an abnormally early and virulent flu season has compounded the problem this year, so ARUP Blood Services is asking people to help.

"Donating blood is the greatest gift you can give," said Lisa Kalantzes, ARUP Blood Services director of community relations.

Donations to ARUP Blood Services, which supplies blood to University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics, Primary Children's Medical Center, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Huntsman Cancer Institute, are noticeably down from last year, Kalantzes said. In large part, the flu epidemic is to blame: People with the flu can't give blood until they are symptom-free. Anyone who's had a fever must wait three days after it subsides to donate.

That's bad news during the holidays, when hectic schedules contribute to lower numbers of blood donors. December 23-January 14 is usually the most difficult period to find donors, according to Kalantzes. O-negative blood is always in demand because it is the universal donor blood type, but all blood types are needed.

"People get so busy during the holidays that it's easy to forget the need for blood," Kalantzes said. "But we're hoping those who are not sick will remember to donate."

ARUP Blood Services, located at 500 Chipeta Way in Research Park, is open for donations during these hours:

-- Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

-- Tuesday, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

-- Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

-- Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

-- Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

-- First Sunday of each month, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

-- Third Sunday of each month, 8 a.m.-11 a.m.

ARUP also runs a bus--the blood "vessel"--that goes to businesses and other locations for smaller blood drives, according to Kalantzes. For information about donating blood, call 583-2787.

ARUP Blood Services is part of ARUP Laboratories (Associated Regional and University Pathologists Inc.), which was established by the U of U School of Medicine Department of Pathology faculty in 1984. ARUP is a non-profit organization owned by the University of Utah and provides laboratory testing for more than half of U.S. academic medical centers and more than 3,000 clinical laboratories nationwide.

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