NewsLocal News


Donations needed: Blood supply declining in Southwest Florida as seasonal residents head back north

Posted at 8:49 AM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 08:49:40-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Blood donations in Southwest Florida continue to decline and donations are needed, to help trauma centers.

Jeremy Puckett with the Blood Center at Lee Health says part of the shortage is pandemic related and part of it is due to other reasons.

“Because we're not having our large blood drives that we normally have, but also going forward we're going to see our shortages because all of our snowbirds have left and gone back North so we always seem to fall a little low in the summertime months,” said Puckett.

Lisa Greenberg: Why are blood banks right now collecting less plasma?

Jeremy Puckett: So, Lee health has stopped the convalescent plasma program. The main driver for that is that we haven't been using the product there were a lot of requirements that were placed on the use and a lot of people aren't meeting those requirements as far as early diagnosis then you had to be hospitalized. So, what that usage going down we had decided to close the program down if for some reason something happens, and they wanted to start it back up we are more than willing to get it rolling again would be a simple project for us but right now our biggest focus is on that shortage.

Lisa Greenberg: Who can donate blood and are there any kind of restrictions to blood donations?

Jeremey Puckett: So the big thing we say is that the age requirements are always a question there's no upper age limit as long as you can pass the physical and the donor history questionnaire. You need to be at least 16 years old, and we can get parental consent to have you donate. Everybody else it's really on a basis of what medical conditions you have underlying conditions things like that. You can always call one of the donor centers find us online give us a call we can talk with you over the phone, but you know if there's something obvious to us that would prevent you from donating otherwise just come intake a few moments go over some things with us.

Jeremy suggests setting aside 45 minutes out of your day. “The actual donation is only going to take you less than 10 minutes, but we do have a physical where we check your blood pressure, temperature, then we do a finger stick to get your hemoglobin and then you have the donor card that you have to fill out, those are probably the two longest parts of the entire process,” said Puckett.

“Then you will get you some cookies some drinks and it’s nice to come out and help.”

To find out more on donating blood and where to donate click here.