TAMPA, Fla. - Dozens of people continue to arrive at One Blood on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa waiting to donate blood in the wake of the deadly shooting at a nightclub in Orlando. The blood bank received 53,000 donations throughout Florida, southern Georgia, southern Alabama and South Carolina on Sunday.
A One Blood spokesperson said that on a typical day they only receive 2,000 donations. Despite the overwhelming response, One Blood is still in need of donations. There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma. Donors are being asked to make appointment at any Tampa Bay Area location.
In Pinellas County, there will also be two blood drives. The first is Tuesday, June 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m at the county courthouse located at 315 Court St. in Clearwater. The second will be Friday, June 17, from 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at the Pinellas County Utilities building at 14 s. Fort Harrison Ave. in Clearwater.
To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you visit www.oneblood.org or call 1.888.9Donate. Keep in mind, the blood banks will still be able to use donor blood in the coming days to replenish the supply, so if an appointment is not available immediately, you could still donate in the coming weeks.
Potential donors will be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire, and will undergo a brief screening. High blood pressure readings, low iron or anemia, cancers (other than common skin cancers), pregnancy, and those who are currently feeling ill, will not be able to donate.
Teens can donate beginning at age 16, with parental consent. Beginning at age 17, they can donate without consent. There is no age limit on donors.
Individuals who traveled to countries where the Zika virus is circulating, and are otherwise well, will be asked to wait four weeks. Others who may have potentially been exposed to “mad cow” disease in the U.K. or other countries, as far back as the 1980’s, may also be restricted.
Criteria for donation have changed in the past years. One loosening restriction pertains to tattoos. Individuals who obtain their tattoo in a licensed parlor are only asked to wait until it is healed to donate. Those obtained in a non-licensed facility must wait a year before donating. The same applies for body piercing.
Medications, like blood thinners, may restrict the ability to donate. People on antibiotics, an oral acne medication, tretinoin (Accutane), and a relatively short list of other medications, may be asked to postpone or refrain from giving blood.
In December, 2015, the FDA also reduced restrictions on men in the gay community. However, representatives from One Blood say those newer guidelines have not yet been implemented.
Currently, men who have had sex with other men, and their female partners, are excluded from donating. In the future, after a 12 month waiting period with no exposure, they will be able to donate.
A history HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, and other diseases spread by blood are also excluded. Click the link for more information about blood donation.