A POTENT mix of bad weather and a big start to the cold and flu season has caused a “sudden and unexpected” plunge in blood donations in NSW.Donations fell to 13 per cent below the daily targets last month, after reaching targets in the previous three months.The Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s NSW manager, Garry Wolfe, said May was a particularly bad month for donations.”I think the weather drove a lot of people away from the donation centres because travelling to and from them is more difficult in wet weather,” he said.”On top of that the cold and flu season started well and truly in May, and June so far has not been much better. If this continues it will place us in a precarious position”.Mr Wolfe said even people who had recently had a cold but were over their worst symptoms were able to donate.”When you are over those obvious symptoms of a virus and you don’t have a sore throat and your temperature has dropped to near normal you might be all right to donate.”Rod Smith’s daughter, Ava, 8, has blood transfusions every week to help treat her leukaemia. She would not survive without them. “They help by maintaining her immune system and her energy levels and her blood’s ability to clot,” he said.”[Hearing about the decrease in donations] is pretty disturbing from our point of view”.Mr Smith said Ava, who will need transfusions for the next four months of her treatment, relied on donated blood not just for survival, but to improve her quality of life.”Her mood is really important to how she recovers and without the blood she has got no energy,” he said. “It’s almost like a drug: she gets the blood and half an hour later she is feeling better and … playing with the other kids”.
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