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Posted: January 7, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Newton Medical Center to host blood drive

Newton Medical Center will host a blood drive Thursday in partnership with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers in recognition of National Blood Donor Month.

The blood drive, open to the entire community, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. in the physician’s pavilion auditorium at the hospital. Anyone wishing to donate blood is urged to call ahead and schedule a time. Appointments can be scheduled by calling human resources at 770-385-4363.Walk-ins will also be welcome the day of the blood drive.

Anne Gantt, physician liaison with Newton Medical, explained that blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months, especially in January, due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness.

According to a news release from the hospital, a reduction in turnout can put the nation’s blood inventory at a critical low. Therefore, January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month to encourage donors to give or pledge to give blood.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is a community blood supplier for the Newton Medical Center and other hospitals in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Each year, nearly five million Americans need a blood transfusion. To meet that responsibility, LifeSouth collects 300,000 blood donations a year, about 836 donors a day, the news release said. Each donation saves three lives.

To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more, and be in general good health. Anyone who is 16 years old may donate with written parental permission.

Those donating blood should bring a photo ID and prior to donating, drink extra caffeine-free fluids, eat a good meal and get plenty of sleep the night before. Donors should also refrain from intense exercise or heavy lifting after giving blood.

Every donor will receive free snacks, a cholesterol screening and a LifeSouth T-shirt.

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