By Pilar Pedraza
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
8:48 PM CST, January 11, 2013
"When the flu hits, it hits everybody," said Terri Dunaway, CEO of the Central Plains Region Red Cross. "It doesn't just hit people in the communities. It hits people in the businesses, in the schools and it hits our staff."
As the flu season worsens even those who aren't sick begin to need a little extra help. From dentists to pharmacists to the Red Cross, they all say the flu is causing them problems.
"It is a domino effect," said Dunaway. "When that happens, we just see this kind of a round robin of problems."
At the Red Cross all those folks home with the flu means few are donating blood. The local chapter is even having to share blood with Red Cross facilities in neighboring states just to make sure everyone has enough. While workers want you to donate, they do offer a word of caution.
"If you are sick, stay away from the healthy people and let them be the ones who are coming in to donate the blood," said Dunaway.
Dentist Lucynda Raben had to send at least one patient home.
"By the time she got here, she was not feeling great and we said, 'You need to go home and rest,'" said Dr. Raben.
Others have called to cancel leaving offices sometimes empty. Raben and her staff do all they can to protect themselves and their patients from the flu.
"We use what are called universal precautions," Dr. Raben said. "That's why you see us all wearing gloves, masks, glasses."
At Dandurand Pharmacy they're seeing lots of folks coming in wanting to get things to protect themselves. Their best recommendations? Things like hand sanitizers and breathing masks.
"If you're around someone that has the flu," said Ben Dandurand. It's certainly something he appreciates when someone sick comes into the pharmacy.
He says he can predict when the flu season is starting.
"We see one Tamiflu come in and then ten more the next day," said Dandurand.
While he and his staff have all been vaccinated they're still seeing people come in for vaccinations.
"Our supply is kind of running low," said Dandurand.
But some old-fashioned advice is generally all healthy adults, aged 18 to 65, need to follow, according to Dandurand.
"Just wash your hands a lot and make sure you're not in direct contact with people with the flu."
Because of the blood shortages the Red Cross especially needs O-negative donors. That blood can be given to any patient without having to find out what their blood type is. The downtown Red Cross is open for all blood donations this weekend.
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