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Donating Plasma – What You Should Know

For quite some time now the need to make plasma donations has been brought to the public eye. Even though a lot of people had already gotten used to the idea of donating blood, it seems not many people have had the privilege to know about plasma donations are why they are vital. But things are looking up, in fact, the number of people who are taking the time to give plasma has been going up steadily over the years.  There seems to be a concerted effort between communities and plasma collection centers to create just the right amount of awareness to ensure people understand the importance of plasma donations. If you have not been donating plasma yet, there are some important things you need to know. This article will give you the breakdown plus a few FAQs to keep you in the know.

What Is Donating Plasma?

As much as the idea of making plasma donations has been out there for a while, not many people have an idea of what it’s about. However, donation of plasma is actually something quite simple. In the easiest definition, Plasma donation is the act of giving blood plasma to a donation center for the purposes of saving lives. There are of course people who may decide to donate in order to get some money but at the end of the day, an overwhelming majority of people donate plasma in order to save lives. Quite rightly so, donated plasma has been used to create life-saving medical breakthroughs including hematology therapies, medicines for the immune system and other solutions for patients in critical care. The small efforts of each plasma donor have combined to create a massive force that has ensured millions of men, women, and children lead better lives through plasma-based treatments.

What Is Plasma?

In order for you to know all about donating plasma perhaps it’s best to first of all start by defining exactly what plasma is and how it is used. The plasma is basically the liquid part of your blood. The blood contains various components. The first ones are the white blood cells. These are the cells that help to build immunity in your body and protect you from disease-causing organisms and other infectious viruses. The second component is the red blood cells. The red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of the body where it is needed.

Then you have platelets. These are also cells and the role they play is to help the blood clot and heal wounds. The platelets react with air when you are cut or when you are bleeding to form clots. This limits the bleeding. Then you have the plasma. All these blood components need a place to move and the liquid part of the blood offers the medium in which the components are transported in the body. When you are donating your plasma, what you are giving is the liquid part of your blood while you keep the other components.

How Is Plasma Collected During Donation

Since plasma is part of the blood, there are so many people who may be sitting there wondering how exactly the plasma is separated from the other components in blood. Well, when you are donating plasma you will see that there is a technology for that. This is actually how it works. When you visit a donation center, the blood will be collected. A pint is often the unit used for every donation. There is a centrifuge that spins the blood leading to separation of cells and the plasma. Once this separation is realized, the plasma is taken and stored under good conditions. The remaining platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells are mixed into a saline solution and are injected right back to your body. So giving plasma is not really donating blood as some people may believe. Once the plasma is taken you will get the other components back. Don’t worry, though, the process of taking the plasma and returning the other blood components to you during plasma donation is very safe.

How Do I Become A Donor Of Plasma

It’s very easy to donate your plasma. The only things you just have to do are walk into any certified plasma collection site and ask for directions. There are so many plasma collection centers in the world at the moment and it should be easy to locate one that works for you best. As for people who are looking to donating plasma in the US, companies like Grifols, Biolife, and Octapharma run a number of state of the art plasma collection sites where you can go and learn about plasma donation as you get ready to donate. In addition to this donation sites, you can also go online and register as a donor. The websites of plasma collection centers have an option for you to register and schedule an appointment to donate. This is not something that will take you a lot of time so make sure you do it today.

How Much Money Do I Get and How Often Do I Donate

These are two questions in one and they are very important questions. The money you make from plasma donation will vary based on where you are donating. Most of the plasma collection centers have their own way of setting the compensation but make no mistake, the money you will be given is in no way a payment for your plasma. The idea of giving plasma is voluntary. In other words, just because you are getting paid a small amount of money does not mean you are selling your plasma. The average a first time plasma donor makes is about $40.

For a second time donor, the money goes up and can reach up to $70. The number of times you can donate depends also on many factors. However, it is important to know that the recommended donation of plasma needs to happen only two times in a week. You are not allowed to donate more than that. Since donors are special and have special attributes, you may realize that different people donate at their own chosen frequency. There is nothing wrong with this. All you need is to choose a schedule that allows donating plasma as flexible as possible.

Who Can Donate The Plasma?

The eligibility for making donations of plasma is determined by the plasma donation center you have chosen. However, there are some basic things you will need to address before you are allowed to donate. To start with, all donors must be above the age of 18 years. You will also find other donation centers that will require you not to be more than 64 years old and others 67 years old. The donors need to be in good health. This means that they are in a good physical state and do not have any infectious or transmittable diseases. Finally, you need to weigh at least 110 pounds or 50 kilograms. These are just the basic requirements. In order to ensure that the donor is safe while giving the plasma and the recipient is safe receiving it, more tests will be done to ensure you are good to go.

What Is The Use Of Donated Plasma?

The moment you donate your plasma it will be used for a wide range of things. However, the plasma is used to create protein-based and plasma-based therapies. This is a new area in medicine that uses plasma as a way of treating rare conditions. When you are donating plasma, you are contributing to the development of life-saving medical solutions. One of the areas in which plasma-derived medicine has been very effective is in the treatment of hemophilia. Donors of plasma have played a huge role in dealing with this issue. Hemophilia is simply a bleeding disorder that prevents the blood from clotting. There are so many people who have had to deal with this issue but because of the donated plasma, they have healed and continued to have a good life. The donated plasma has also played a crucial role in the development of immunotherapy. These are basically treatments that are designed to help people who have immunity disorders.

Nutritional Information For Donors

If you have already made a personal commitment to donate plasma, then there are some nutrition tips that are vital in order to ensure you are healthy. Donors of plasma need to have a lot of fluids. This means that you drink water and juice in bigger proportions than before.  It is advised that before you donate you at least drink eight glasses of water a day before the donation. After you donate, also do the same. Fluids are very important in aiding the replacement of the donated plasma. In addition to this, you may also want to eat lots of proteins. Proteins help a lot in blood synthesis and would come handy a day before and after any donation. Finally, don’t drink alcohol if you are to donate plasma the next day. Your plasma cannot be taken if there is alcohol in your blood.

The other important thing to include in your diet is iron. As you know, iron is the most important mineral in the synthesis of blood.  When you are donating plasma, you will need to replenish it and taking foods rich in iron will do. In a normal donor, it takes 2 hours to give the plasma. The time it takes for the plasma to regenerate in your body is less than 24 hours. This means that you have nothing to lose should you make the call to give your plasma and help save people. The only thing you need is to make two hours in your schedule and visit a plasma collection center that is convenient enough for you.

The simple step of donating your plasma to help in the development of plasma-derived cures makes a difference in the world in a positive way. It’s time to start donating at your nearest plasma collection center!

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