The American Red Cross of Southwestern NY will host several blood drives in the county during February.
The following drives are scheduled:
10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Portland fire department;
Noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 18, at Blessed Mary Angela Roman Catholic Church, Dunkirk;
2-8 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Sherman Stanley Hose Co.
The winter's flu season hit early, with the Red Cross seeing a lower-than-expected turnout at some scheduled blood drives because donors are unable to keep their appointments. Those who have the flu should wait until they no longer have flu symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before attempting to donate. Blood donors must feel healthy and well on the day of donation. Donors can donate after receiving the influenza vaccine if they are symptom-free and meet all other eligibility requirements. Neither the flu shot nor the intranasal form of the influenza vaccine is cause for a blood donation deferral, because there is no risk of transmitting influenza after receiving the vaccines.
Red Cross staff members take standard precautions to prevent the spread of the flu at blood drives, including frequent hand washing, cough etiquette, influenza vaccination and appropriate management of ill staff members to minimize potential exposure. For more information, to schedule or to cancel an appointment to donate blood, call 800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.