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Flu season hurting CTX blood supply

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
WOODWAY, TX (KXXV) -

The flu is continuing to wreak havoc across the country and now it's even affecting our blood supply in Central Texas. 

For the last few weeks, an empty seat has been easy to find at Carter BloodCare in Woodway.

"A lot of people are down with the flu. A lot of cold weather, people aren't wanting to really get out of their house," said Jamie Martin, donor center phlebotomist at Carter BloodCare. "It's been pretty much affecting things around here."

Martin said this winter is slowing down foot traffic at the donor center, which is taking a toll on their supply.

"It's definitely a little concerning whenever we pack our coolers up at night and we're not seeing as many units as we're accustomed to," said Martin.

Sick students are also affecting donations since many schools have been forced to cancel blood drives that have were on the calendar for months.

"Schools account for over 20 percent of our local blood supply,' said Clinton McCoy, account consultant for Carter BloodCare. "So if you've seen it in the news, you've seen it in lots of school districts that are going to pretty extreme measures to make sure they're sterilized."

McCoy said even if you're feeling just a little under the weather, you can be still turned away from donating since the first question they ask donors is 'are you feeling healthy and well today'.

"Not feeling 100% could be an indicator of an infection coming on, of you getting the flu and just not having it full borne yet," said McCoy.

Carter BloodCare typically hosts about 15 blood drives across the region each day with the hopes of bringing in 1,000 units. It's a goal that's been difficult to reach lately.

"We don't have any drives today because we had to cancel them due to flu season," said McCoy. "Blood has a limited lifespan, it has a shelf life. We have to make sure that the supply is constant there so that when a patient is at the hospital and needs it most, we have the blood ready for them."

For those who are able to give, Carter BloodCare is urging you to come in since an hour of your life could save someone else's.

"I've stuck a lot of people over my years and when I think about all the units that have gone through, that's a lot of lives that have probably been saved," said Martin.

McCoy said one donation can save three lives.

To find out where you can donate or to host a blood drive, click here.

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