Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Can I donate Blood Plasma With Tattoos or Piercings?

Q: Can I donate plasma with a new tattoo? I visited a plasma center, and they said there's a 6 month deferral. Is this true, or just tattoo discrimination?

Answer: You might be confusing plasma donation with blood donation, which has a deferral period of 6 months (in Canada at least) after getting a new tattoo. Some plasma centers have a deferral period of twelve months for a person with tattoos. This is to prevent plasma recipients from getting hepatitis. It could cost someone their life.

You could always call a donation center and ask them. Contact the plasma center nearest to you for state-specific eligibility guidelines for donors.

FDA Guidelines: "Current FDA guidelines state that tattooed donors can give plasma as soon as the inked area has healed IF the they reside in a state with applied inspections and licenses for such facilities AND a sterile needle and ink were used. Individual plasma centers are allowed to implement more strict guidelines than the FDA, so please contact your local donor facility for specific guidelines."

Regulated Vs. Unregulated Tattoo Parlor States

 Currently just over half of states regulate tattoo parlors, currently 32 states.  Incidentally, you must wait for a twelve month period to give blood ONLY in the unregulated states. If you're in a state that does have an inspection and licensing for tattoo parlors, the donor is eligible again as soon as the tattoo site heals, usually within 30 days. Should you have gotten your tattoo last week, you are not allowed to give blood or plasma.

Can I Donate Plasma with Piercings?

I, personally, don't have much experience with piercings. After doing a little research, I found this: "If performed with a needle, in most centers, there's a 1 year waiting period. You may donate immediately without waiting period after getting a body piercing, if you can prove a sterile needle was used."

So I would assume it is safe to give blood,and then get your ears pierced. But getting a piercing before you donate might disqualify you from being a donor at some centers.

Other Requirements for Donating Plasma

You have to be 17 to give blood products in Canada, and 18 in the US. Some states allow you to donate at 16 with parental consent. How much plasma you may donate depends on your weight, since you must weigh at least 110lbs to donate plasma.

Furthermore, every time you donate plasma, you will be tested for blood pressure and your iron levels. All donors need to maintain a hematocrit (blood iron level) of at least 13, and blood pressure within the normal range for your age and height/weight. First time donors get paid more, and some centers have a generous referral program.

 You usually cannot give blood within 12 months of visiting a foreign country regardless of if you are tattooed or not.  If you visit any of these areas after a tattoo is applied, you have to wait one year from the date of leaving the high risk area.

You can't donate within a year of getting the birth control shot.

As for smoking, you shouldn't smoke within 24 hours of donating plasma.

How Often Can I Donate Blood Plasma?

Lastly, plasma donating times can vary. The number of times you may donate is also restricted, the policy at most centers is twice a week. You can donate plasma twice a week, but no more than 4 times in a 14 day period, with one day of rest in between. Inquire at your local plasma center what their rules are on this.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Can You Donate Plasma With a Cold?

Q: Can I donate Plasma With Cold Symptoms?

I'm sick with a cold/flu, and have no money for medications - nyquil, ambien, tylenol, you name it. I considered plasma donating to buy the OTC cold medicines I need, and make up for lost days at work (from being sick.) Will the plasma center let me donate plasma with cold symptoms? What are their rules on sick individuals donating?

Answer: No, sorry, you can't donate plasma with a cold, flu, or virus infecting your system. The reason isn't to protect plasma recipients - it's to protect you, the donor's, health.

The rules for plasma donating say you can't have a fever above 99 degrees, cough, sniffles, or a runny nose on the day of donation. In other words, you should be completely free of cold or flu symptoms and feeling healthy before you donate.  This is because your body makes white cell germ antibodies using plasma, and if you donate plasma, your body lacks the substance needed to create antibodies.

Can I Transmit My Cold Germs to Plasma Recipients?

No, you can't transmit germs or virus by being sick while donating. Cold germs reside in your air and nasal tissue lining, and don't affect the blood plasma. Nobody gets hurt if you donate while sick except you. This is why there's a screening and rejection process, to make sure your temperature is in the normal range and you feel good before plasma donating.

What are the Effects of Donating With a Cold - What Will Happen?

Donating with a cold lowers your immune system, and leads to lingering illness, chronic cough, slower healing times, severe fatigue, and even pneumonia. When you have a cold or flu, it's better to stay in bed, drink hot soup and orange juice, and let your body heal completely. Donating while you have a cold will mess up your body's system, and lead to chronic/serious complications.

Find some other way to make money while you're sick. You could start a blog about plasma donation, and make money off the advertising space. You could also sell artwork on Etsy, become an ebay powerseller, or exchange your writing for profit on gig sites like Fiverr.

In the long term, plasma donating while sick, or even while you're healthy, is a bad idea. You never receive something for nothing - and what you're selling is your body's health. Your body needs blood plasma to transport red blood cells, and heal cuts, wounds and infections like the common cold. In the end, it's better not to donate plasma, but if you need the money, wait until your cold/flu is finished to donate plasma again.
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