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Flu Season Results In Saline Shortage At San Diego Blood Bank

Evening Edition

Blood banks nationwide are facing a shortage of saline this flu season, and the problem is now affecting the San Diego Blood Bank.

Lynn Stedd works for the blood bank and said the shortage has been caused by the large number of flu sufferers going to the hospital for dehydration. The clear liquid is used to treat dehydration, and hospitals are given first priority by saline manufactures.

Stedd said the blood bank needs the clear liquid to hydrate donors who have given twice the usual amount of blood.

“People who give double red cells are losing a lot of volume and we replace that volume with saline so that they feel very good after their donation,” Stedd said.

Stedd also said the saline shortage is causing them to need more blood donations.

“We’re asking the community to please come out in larger numbers and donate blood, because we can’t rely on our double red cell donors,” Stedd said.

So far this flu season, 20 San Diegans have died of influenza-related causes, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced earlier this week. In California, a total of 147 people have died from the flu this season, according to state officials.

The county health agency said the H1N1 strain, or swine flu, is most dominant this season, and that most of this year’s victims had not gotten a flu vaccine. H1N1 is known to hit younger people hardest, but the flu vaccine is still widely available.

On Friday, San Diego councilman Mark Kersey also urged people to get a flu shot. His 37-year old-brother died from the flu in Pennsylvania.

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