Severe flu season may affect blood supply: Red Cross

A severe flu season could not only strain hospitals but also threaten the nation's blood supply this winter, the American Red Cross said Nov. 8.

Fourteen states are reporting "very high" flu activity, CDC data shows, and some hospitals are already erecting overflow tents to care for a surge in patients with the respiratory illness. 

The Red Cross said an increase in seasonal illnesses is typically associated with a decrease in healthy blood donors. 

"Paired with busy holiday schedules, seasonal illnesses may make it harder to collect the blood hospital patients require this winter," the Red Cross said.

The organization is urging blood and platelet donors to give now to help prevent potential supply issues. 

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