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.


  1. There are no studies that say donating plasma long term is bad for you in any way, in fact there are a few that state the contrary. There are studies that show a significantly reduced chance for heart attack/stroke. I am saddened by the fact that you would advise people not to donate even when healthy, there are so many people in the U.S. That need transfusions, people in your community even. People everywhere rely on donors to get lifesaving transfusions and treatments, without people caring enough to donate many people would die, shame on you.

    1. They pay a small fee such as $25 or $45 per 880 ml donation so it's a way for the unlucky (under employed) to earn a few badly needed dollars. Considering that each bottle is worth like $500, they could feed or give donors a food voucher (they do $5 food vouchers on federal holiday donations!!!) so they can immediately start gaining back proteins and strength without spending half the donation fee on recovery to be fair about it. Since the built up excess reserve of labor, (ie. under employed) are fair game to be further exploited in our system of ruthless capitalism and these are foreign corporations we're talking about that collect and distribute, it really should bring ethics into question.

    2. SOOOO TRUE. The system makes me sick.

    3. I'm a person who is lucky enough to have a strong immune system. I get sick about once every 5 years. I recently became unemployed, so I started donating plasma. I've donated twice a week for the past 3 months and I've gotten 3 colds since. They only last one or 2 days and I'm healthy again by the time my next donation date rolls around, but this is no coincidence. Of course my immune system is beong diminished due to my lack of plasma. Having said that, I will continue to donate as long as I need the money. And I see no shame in the person telling the truth about the risks of plasma donation. Shame on you for shaming the honest truth.

    4. Just an FYI, Correlation does not equal causation.

  2. Wow, learned a lot here, never knew i was getting so hosed for my donations. But at least i do know its actually helping people.

  3. How long do I have to wait after taking Nyquil can I donate plasma?

  4. Even though it's been said you shouldn't donate until you feel healthy, you could donate the next day assuming you took alcohol free NyQuil... idk how much of an impact the one with alcohol would do but you are'nt supposed to donate within 24 hours after consuming alcohol.

  5. If you ate 2 slices of pizza around 2pm and Campbell's soup around 7 pm could you donate plasma tomorrow ?


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