Blood centers urge donations on Monday

Blood Center locations in the metro New Orleans area will be open from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday for donors who want to end 2012 by helping someone.

Blood Center locations that offer apheresis, or platelet donation, will be open two hours longer than other locations, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment.

Regular hours will resume Jan. 2.

Apheresis Centers include the Metairie Donor Center, at 3400 16th St., Metairie, (504) 887-2833; the Westbank Donor Center at 2701 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, (504) 263-1190; Slidell Donor Center at 1337 Gause Blvd., Slidell, (985) 641-4400; and Mandeville Donor Center, at 4350 La. 22, Mandeville, (985) 626-4937.

Donor Centers in Bogalusa and LaPlace will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.

The Blood Center must collect between 300 to 350 pints of blood every day to maintain a healthy and stable community blood supply, according to a press release.

Donations typically drop during the winter and during the holidays, according to the Blood Center, but the need does not decrease. Just one pint of blood can help to save up to three lives, the Blood Center said.

Donors must be in good health, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 17 years of age to donate blood; 16-year-olds can donate with a signed consent form, but they must weigh at least 130 pounds.

Donors should eat a healthful meal and drink plenty of fluids before and after donating, the center said, and should bring a picture ID.