Duncan Birt can’t give blood because he has whooping cough.
Duncan Birt can’t give blood because he has whooping cough. Alistair Brightman

Ask a friend to give blood

ONE ISN'T usually envious of someone who is on the receiving end of a needle.

But Fraser Coast Red Cross Blood Service spokesperson Duncan Birt looked a little bit jealous as he watched students from Urangan High School roll up their sleeves to donate blood yesterday.

Mr Birt has just been diagnosed with whooping cough, which means he won't be able to donate blood for the foreseeable future – maybe even up to a year.

With so many others across the state, and right here on the Coast, diagnosed with the disease, Mr Birt said the outbreak was contributing to the low level of blood supplies throughout Queensland.

He was vaccinated against whooping cough when he was six but should have had a booster shot.

“I can't donate until I'm fit and healthy and that could be a year,” he said.

“From the blood bank's point of view, ensuring the safety of the person who receives the blood is our top priority.”

Mr Birt said now, with so many people suffering from the highly contagious disease, was a good time for people unable to donate to encourage a friend to give.

“Tap someone on the shoulder and ask them to step up and take your place,” he said.

Every bag of blood is tested for diseases but people are still encouraged to let the Red Cross know if they fall ill a few days after giving blood.



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