Saturday, December 3, 2016

How Much Do You Get Paid to Donate Plasma?

Q: How much does plasma donation pay? When I donated plasma, the pay was 10,15,10,25, (for the first, second, third and fourth times of the month,) but that was about 8 years ago. I was told to call first because sometimes a special reward is offered for economic hardship. 

Answer: Some companies (like Biomat USA) pay $ 40 the first donation and $ 60 after. Usually you can donate for around $ 40, and then come back in a couple of days and donate for another $ 40. CSL Plasma pays $50 for your first two visits and Biolife Plasma will give $ 40 payment for your first two visits. Talecris plasma center pays the most at $60 for the first visit, $50 for the second, and $30-$40 a week after that.

Economic Hardship

Economic hardship has led to an increase in blood plasma donation services for offered money. While many serious diseases can be treated successfully with plasma biotherapies, the number of families who benefit financially from payments received from a plasma donation centers are also significant.

Income received from plasma donating is not significant, but it could certainly help someone who is really strapped for cash, since plasma can be donated more often than blood. Potential plasma donors should call their local donation center donations for specific payment guidelines.

How Do You Get Paid When Donating Plasma?

Plasma centers don't write checks, or offer cash rewards like in the past. Instead, most plasma centers now use a money card, similar to a debit card, to pay you for plasma donating. After you donate, the nurse scans your plasma donation bag with your ID on it, and the money is automatically added to your card. Some plasma donation centers even offer an ATM inside the center, for faster access to your cash and checking your balance.

CSL plasma money cards now have a my Visa Z rewards feature - every time you donate and get paid at CSL, you earn rewards points good toward mp3 downloads, coupons, or cash back.

How Much Plasma Centers Pay in the United States - By State

Different states have separate laws on minimum donor pay received. For example, in Illinois, the minimum pay is a large sum of $5 per donation hour, and since most donations take up to 1 hour, a donor would be paid a whopping fee of $5. Luckily, most plasma donation centers make thousands of dollars on each bottle of human plasma, so they can afford to pay more than the minimum. Here are three states I know about, average pay in each:

1.) Illinois - centers usually pay around $25 first donation of the week, $35 for the second

2.) California - one the highest paying states for donors, at $35 first, $45 dollars second time

3.) Texas - one of the cheapest, lowest paying state averages, at only $10 dollars first, $20-$30 second time around

How to donate plasma

Donating plasma is different from donating blood in it after you have drawn blood, plasma is separated and the remaining blood is returned to the donor, by centrifugation. To make sure that donors are in perfect health, they must wait at least 4 months between red blood cell donations. Plasma donors can donate as frequently as twice a week, however, with a 48 hour waiting period in between.

Q: How does paid plasma donation differ from voluntary blood plasma donation?

A: Paid plasma donation is the same as any other automated donation process. I assume that "selling" plasma sounds too awkward.

Why Donate Plasma?

If you do not donate then many people will die. It helps people with leukemia and other immune disorders.

For me, the extra cash is addicting, as were the health surveys conducted in the plasma donation center before any donations (I donated at Biotest Plasma,) so I went to donate plasma twice a week for a $ 65 reimbursement.

According to director of corporate communications for ZLB Plasma Services, Christine Kuhinka, whose center is located at 2978 South State Street in Salt Lake City, an individual can earn up to $300 monthly income for their family, just by donating plasma.

You get paid more when you become a regular donor to the Center, but only for the first few times. To get compensated, you must first find the center nearest you. There are plenty of useful Internet ads will help you to do this. Then, you earn $ 40 for the first visit and less for others.

There is nothing wrong with plasma donating, if you're a suitable candidate. If a potential donor does not meet the height and weight requirements of the protocol, a center may still buy their plasma. They are still eligible to use automated technology to donate one unit of red blood cells / one unit of plasma or platelet donation.

The pros on Donating Plasma

There's only one pro to donating plasma: the payment. The amount that you earn for donation depends on the current needs of the donor pool, but the highest paying plasma companies pay anywhere from $ 20 - $ 50 per donation, and you can give twice a week! After your initial visit, the average payment is $25 for a first donations, $ 35 for the second donation of the week. The money is pretty decent.

Also, your plasma is worth more than just cash. Plasma has worth as potential rescue serum for patients receiving immuno therapy, and for people struggling to put food on the table every day, they receive valuable payments which are also a lifesaver.

The First Donation

My first donation was about 2 hours long. The process includes an individual physician check on the first visit. You also need to do routine things like get weighed to determine how much plasma you can donate, and get your blood pressure and pulse taken. After the first donation, it only takes about 45 minutes - it's the easiest money ever!

Who donates plasma

After a quick search on the internet, I found that a lot of normal (read: not drugged up and not-homeless people) make a decent amount of money by plasma donating. Who knew that plasma was worth so much? Plasma centers do not directly set the pay- they go off how much you weigh, how often you donate, and how tall you are.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Risks and Side Effects of Donating Plasma

Q: I was worried about the long-term side effects of donating plasma and searched the web, but haven't come across any definitive information on the long-term effects on plasma donations over a long term period. I talked to someone that donated more plasma and led more road races than he cares to admit in the last two years, and he attests that plasma donation does not have that much of a negative effect health-wise.

However, there are possible harmful side effects to be aware of before accepting the needle. 

Plasma Donation Regulations

A: I've witnessed tens of thousands of plasma donations, and for most people, it's a safe process without high risks. In the past, donors risked developing a form of hepatitis in facilities that reused unsanitized equipment. Today, the donation of plasma is widespread and is considered an act of generosity.

 Biolife Plasma Services is heavily regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and must follow strict safety regulations to ensure plasma quality and safety on the part of both donor and patients who received life-saving plasma products. Collecting plasma machines are fairly sophisticated in order to ensure that RBCs are not damaged.

I was a phlebotomist at a plasma donation center when I was in college. A phlebotomist at a plasma donation center is the person holding the needle in my hand and accompanying you throughout your donation.

Risks of Plasma Donation

There are some possible side effects that occur after each plasma donation, typical for everyone. You'll probably notice that every time you donate, you feel very thirsty. The dangers of being dehydrated when donating body fluids (including plasma, platelets, and giving blood) include vein damage over time, causing them to harden with scarring.

To prevent this, drink water, milk or juice the day before donating, and once you are done, even if you do not feel thirsty. Scarring is usually due to not eating enough  before donation, or being dehydrated. Dehydration is also a leading cause of many other harmful effects that are associated with plasma donation, such as dizziness and weakness.

There's really not much side effects donating blood plasma for most people, especially with careful safety precautions before you go and after you're through.

There is very little risk to plasma donating.

Frequent donations decrease plasma levels of serum immunoglobulins, possibly increasing infection risk by lowering your immune system. Donating blood plasma isn't bad for you if you do it within four hours of eating a good meal. But if you want to help someone, you first need to think if it's good for your health background and check thoroughly if you are healthy enough to avoid harmful effects of donating.

I'm not saying that everyone should donate plasma for extra money. The entire donation process takes about 45 min to 1 h.

Like other destructive activities done with needles (drugs, steroids, etc.), donating plasma punctures your blood vessels, which is bad for your vein health.

Plasma Donation Process

The process of taking the plasma from the body is called plasmapheresis. As far as people do not understand the whole donation process, Its not complicated: Plasma is composed of a 70% H2O and salt water. Plasma donation centers also use a 17 or 16 gage needle to ensure that the cells are not damaged during return. Donating plasma is usually done by donating blood, while plasma are separated from the cells.

Short Term Vs. Long Term Effects

If you are a regular plasma donor, you'll feel some short term side effects after donating - like dehydration, tired feeling, chest pain, weak/rapid pulse, and a dizzyness or a sore arm. But in the short term, there's little possible risk of donating. There are more long term disadvantages to donating than short term disadvantages.

Repeat or regular plasma donors might develop serious long-term effects that are bad for their health, like after donating regularly for months or years.

Long term plasma donation lowers immunoglobin levels, which affects the immune system and puts donors at risk for serious health complications like pneumonia. You start to feel physically run down and unhealthy after donating for extended periods of time.

Over time possible plasma donation complications include lowering serotonin and endorphin levels in the blood, making depression, mental disorders, and increased anxiety or panic attacks worse. Those at risk for, or previously diagnosed with depression or social anxiety are taking unhealthy risks by plasma donating long term. Regular plasma donations may have a harmful effect of lowering mental health state and weakening the immune system over time.

Are there Risks or Disadvantages for plasma recipients?

Back in 2001, the the FDA issued a warning, which stated that plasma recipients faced an increased risk of contracting pulmonary syndrome or Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI). This occurred because in isolated cases of plasma donation, plasma is separated and detached from the blood and then returns the blood to the blood donor system.

Plasma is made up mostly of water and protein, so that the process of donating it may deprive you of healthy nutrients. If you donate too much, the possible side effects of plasma donating include a small scar on the hand.

But there is another reason to heed this advise, not just the day before, but after the donation process is over: donating blood plasma dehydrates the body to unhealthy levels.

The cons of plasma donating are discomfort in some cases even a little painful, but it should stop being so very quickly. Usually the bad feelings will pass after a few minutes, and then you can go about your business. Mind you, I only had one truly painful/harmful experience of 7 years in donating blood and three years of plasma donating. It was cold and I started getting symptoms about 8 hours after donating.

What is a plasma donation?

Plasma is the yellow liquid and consists of mostly water and some proteins that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. To summarize, although there is a potential risk/danger to the donor plasma and plasma recipients, there are some measures that have been taken by the medical staff and the hospital. Automated plasmapheresis machines remove whole blood, it mixes with the anticoagulant, separates the plasma into the container, and then flows into the red blood cells back into the body.

There are disadvantages to plasma donating. Loss of plasma in your system can make you feel sick after donating, leaving you more susceptible to the flu and other common colds.

Hold off on the yard work

Physical activity or exercise immediately after donating can also cause many of the harmful symptoms, especially if you are a new donor. Give your body some time to rest after donating before going for a daily jog, mowing the lawn, or aerobics class. I would not recommend going for a 10 mile run immediately after the donation, but if you drink a bottle of water and grab a small snack, you should be fine.
If one's blood system is unhealthy, or for some reason does not produce enough plasma, then they need transfusion from plasma donors. If you are in good health, donating blood does not cause any permanent side effects. According to experts, a person can donate plasma every 48 hours, but can't donate more than twice a week.

There are certain harmful effects that you could possibly experience during your donation. Plasma donations (like platelet donations) have been around for many years and new technologies monitor cells in a centrifuge.

I've heard people say they donate plasma leaves them exhausted and too tired to do anything after that. In addition, since the donation schedule is flexible, you can make it work around your schedule exercise. There are two cycles in the whole process.

The electrolytes in sports drinks like Gatorade actually help replenish your system faster, so it is recommended to drink something like that after the donation. Plasma then goes to the bottle and your blood stays in the bowl. Processes of plasma and blood plasma donations are similar but not the same. Other organizations say it is bad for your health to donate plasma more than 12 times a year.

I am sure that if you dig enough you can find a horror story or two, but behind it's the truth about blood plasma donation as well.

Drink plenty of water

You are advised to drink plenty of water the day before you donate. It is also important to keep drinking water after you finish donating. When properly hydrated, you should experience minimal pain, and I hope that any pain you do experience does not stop you from donating again.

As long as you eat a good meal, stay healthy, and  follow maintenance guidelines that go along with plasma donating will be fine. If you decide to donate plasma, you should be aware of the risks and take precautions so as to leave no chances.

If you ever experience a tired feeling after plasma donating you are probably under stress, not sleeping or eating poorly and not drinking enough fluids.

 I asked Pat Ruether, a local nutritionist about it. If your protein levels are low, plasma donating can have harmful effects. Low protein means you will not be able to donate (they check the protein and iron levels during check-in at Biolife). Make sure you drink plenty of water leading up to donation (especially the day before) and add protein to your diet as possible.

How Often Can I Donate?

It is all right to donate plasma twice a week, but if you donate too much or too often, you may face dangerous problems with low blood protein hemoglobin in the blood and in the urine.

You won't die from donating your plasma. However, plasma is used to make a number of critical care drugs that people will die without.

Most side effects can all be avoided if you drink lots of water and eat a meal before going to the hospital to donate plasma. Another downside is that plasma donating anti-coagulant can give metallicy strange taste in the mouth, or in some cases, numb lips.

A drawback is that plasma donating is a pain most of the time, it just takes a little longer. For most people, donating blood plasma has few bad feeling side effects, and whatever there is is usually quite mild.

One can donate plasma in almost every hospital in the U.S., as it is considered a routine procedure with few consequences. The only reason you would ever feel sick or nauseated after getting plasma drawn will be because you will have a reaction.

Plasma regenerates quickly into your system, and most of the facilities (Biolife included) recover their red blood cell donation for you when the cycle is completed. Drinking sugary drinks can dehydrate and fatty foods can make your plasma more difficult to draw. Many students earn their pocket money from plasma donation, as it paid $ 15-20 each time you go to the hospital to donate.

How to Avoid Risks When Donating Plasma

Donating your plasma is a risky business, and hard on the body. To avoid passing out, blood loss, lumbago, nerve damage, and other common side effects, follow these 3 guidelines to minimize your risk:

1.) Eat protein packed foods, like peanut butter, spinach, egg yolks, bacon, or red fish

2.) Eat something high in slow-metabolizing sugar: plasma donation drains the body's sugars, but a sugar rush and crash won't help either. Eat high-energy, slow metabolizing meals to avoid passing out, like whole-grain cereal, brown rice, high-fiber bars, and fruits like apples.

3.) NEVER smoke right before plasma donation. Smoking (both cigarettes and "medical" marijuana) is a definite no-no! It raises your blood pressure, making you disqualified from donation, and also thins your blood, resulting in more risk of blood loss.

Is Donating Plasma Safe?

I've heard it all since I started donating two years ago, but the bottom line is: plasma donation is a safe, effective way to earn money and save lives in the process.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Q: How to Remove Plasma Donation Scars?

How to Prevent Plasma Donation Scars

Long term donors have scars - it's an unavoidable side effect of donation. You can prevent arm scars, though. Here's how to prevent plasma scars:

  • Switch arms every donation. Some plasma donors are righties, some are lefties. Be an ambidextrous donor! Switching arms (being ambidextrous) prevents scars by allowing your arm skin to heal.

  • Take vitamin E cream with you. Apply vitamin E cream before and after donation. Vitamin E is essential to skin healing, so rub on some vitamin E to prevent scars.

  • Drink gallons of water! Okay, not that much. But drinks lots of water. Skin tissues need water to heal. Being properly hydrated leads to easier skin healing and less plasma scar formation. Not to mention, your donation time goes quicker when you're properly hydrated, so drink your water.

Scars as a Side-Effect of Plasma Donation

One of the side effects of plasma donating long term is plasma donation scars. After plasma donating long term, you'll get an ugly plasma scar like the mark above. The plasma scar is red or clear in color. The scar may also form a hole to match the injection site. As some plasma donors joke, a scar at the injection site is "a good target for doctors to place the needle."

Phlebotomists are trained to prevent scars and vein damage. However, in rare cases vein damage still occurs. Even a skilled Phlebotomist can't prevent long term scars in donors. However, bearing a plasma donation scar is a small price to pay to make precious plasma medicines.

Why Plasma Injection Sites Form Scars

The Phlebotomist puts in the needle, and your plasma machine starts pumping. Eventually, your plasma donation will be stored, and turned into medicines such as flu shots, immune boosters and burn medications.

But at the needle mark, your skin is irritated. Scars form from improper skin irritation during tissue healing. Your plasma injection site is healing, and you irritate it again by donating blood plasma. Over long term donation, your arm skin forms a scar.

The good news is plasma scars, like all scars, lack nerve tissue. Donate plasma long enough to get scars, and the needle injection will stop hurting (due to less nerve tissue present.) The arm scar is also a road map to place the needle for Phlebotomists in training.

Will I Get Scarred Veins From Donating Plasma?

Horror stories depict junkies getting vein scars and ruining their health. Scarred veins cause blood irregularity and deadly blood clots. Don't worry! Blood plasma donation isn't like being a junkie. Plasma donors are legally allowed two donations a week. It takes multiple needle injections a day to get scarred veins, or blood clots. Two donations a week isn't enough to get scarred veins like our junkie friends.
How to Remove Plasma Donation Scars

So, you didn't drink water, did you? Or maybe you're a long term blood plasma donor. It's made a scar on your arm that your relatives are beginning to question. You need get rid of a plasma donation scar that makes you look like a junkie with a favorite vein.

First, try vitamin E cream. Vitamin E cream not only prevents plasma scars - it can also get rid of scars. Vitamin E is essential to healthy skin cells and tissues, so rub vitamin E cream on the scar twice daily to diminish the appearance. Vitamin E comes in an over the counter cream form at the drug store. Vitamin E oils and liquids are also available over the counter.

Next, add to a bath some some Epsom Salts. Epsom salts aren't just healthy for plants - they help with scars too. Epsom salts rejuvenate skin and diminish the appearance of injection scars. Epsom salts relax the skin and provide powerful antioxidants  which, when added to a bath, are the key to repairing scarred or damaged skin.

Also try Mederma scar removal cream for damaged skin. Vitamin E oil is the first choice in plasma scar removal, since it is cheap and available over the counter. However, cheap Vitamin E oil or cream works best with new scars. New scars are easier to remove than old scars which have been "set." If you have old scars from plasma donation, bring out the big (expensive) guns and go for Mederma.

Finally, stop donating blood plasma, if plasma donation scars bother you. You may have scars years after stopping plasma donation - it's okay. It can takes years after stopping plasma donation for scars to heal. These ugly marks will heal after months or years depending on the suppleness of your own skin. The best way to remove plasma donation scars is to forgo the $60 and stop plasma donating twice a week.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Can You Work Out After Donating Plasma?

Q: Can you exercise after plasma donating? My physical endurance seems to dip a bit after giving blood.  I've noticed that it makes my running times up to 20 percent slower.  However, donating non-red cell components like platelets and plasma has no effect on my exercise performance.  So should I work out after plasma donating, wait for my athletic performance to return to normal levels, or skip plasma donations altogether?

Answer: Exercising immediately after donating plasma can cause a rupture at the donation site. Since red blood cells carry oxygen to the body, you'll notice the effects of donating first in your breathing, stamina, and recovery time following exercise. You need the blood to supply oxygen to your muscles and remove co2. So, you should not exercise for 24 hours after donating plasma.

The Red Cross Website States: "Whole blood donors are advised to refrain from strenuous exercise for at least 12-24 hours following blood collection. When you donate whole blood, you lose about 10% of your red blood cells, and it makes a difference during high exertion exercise."

Most blood plasma centers state that you shouldn't exercise in a moderate to strenuous manner for 12-24 hours following a donation.

Why Can't You Exercise After Donating Plasma?

Everyone's body is different, and each person will be affected differently by donating blood. Donating plasma could cause strain on your heart as the blood will be less fluid, so you shouldn't donate to often and try to minimalise strenuous exercise for 24hrs after.

Most blood plasma center medical directors would recommend waiting a minimum of 12 hours before attempting strenuous exercise after volunteer blood plasma donation.

By donating blood plasma, you're also donating your lipids, iron, and trace minerals in the blood. The reason you can't donate plasma right after exercising is that they might take too much of your blood and induce anemia - which causes symptoms like fatigue, fast heartbeat, exercise intolerance, trouble breathing, and a high risk of passing out.

How Long Will I Take To Recover my Strength After Donating?

For most people, the decreased oxygen capacity of the blood will have no impact on exercise tolerance. Healthy adults will recover their full strength from donating plasma within hours, but the decreased blood iron may affect strength training long-term.

To recover your full strength for exercise, take it easy and rest well the day after donating, while hydrating yourself with electrolyte drinks. Do light exercises for a couple of days after donation, working your way up to heavier exercise.

Staying Hydrated During Plasma Donation

Remember to keep hydrated after your plasma donation. Definitely drink lots of water before you'll want to spread it out throughout the day. Drinking water will also make your plasma donation faster, as it lubricates your blood cells. If you find that you're dehydrated from sweating after your exercise, it's especially important to drink lots of fluids..

How You Feel Physically After Donating Plasma

There are lots of things that can affect the way you feel after you give blood. What you ate, how much you exercise, your fluid intake, or if you've been sick recently. Generally, donors black out from a temporary hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar). Before you donate, be sure that you eat about 30 minutes before you go, to avoid passing out. After you donate plasma, sit around for a while and enjoy the pure sugary snacks they've laid out for you.

Donating Plasma Eligibility

Plasma donor donation centers have strict eligibility requirements for donors, to ensure that no donors or potential plasma recipients are harmed. For example, you shouldn't exercise or drink alcoholic beverages for a few hours after you donate. For 24 hours after your blood plasma donation, avoid strenuous exercise (hot showers included).

You should not give blood more often than every eight weeks because it takes that long to replace lost nutrients.

Before and After Plasma Donation

If it you donate regularly over a long time without pre-preparation, you will feel fatigued, tire easily, be pale, have no exercise tolerance, feel cold and other unexplained symptoms. The night before you donate, please make sure to drink water. Eat increased protein before plasma donation (meats and/or nuts). Avoid strenuous exercise after donating, and for the rest of the day.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Q: Can I Donate Blood Plasma? Eligibility Requirements for Donation

Answer: You are eligible to give blood plasma if you are between the ages of 18-64,  and are feeling healthy (not sick with cold or flu symptoms.) Healthy adults without immune diseases, no STD's or tattoos, and non-pregnant women can donate plasma and blood.

If you meet the plasma donation requirements, you are also eligible to donate bone marrow, platelets, double red cells, organs, and other body tissues.

Can I Donate if I have a tattoo?

No, you can't give blood plasma if you have a tattoo - not for a long time. Donation centers (both blood banks and plasma centers) have different rules on deferral time, but generally you can't donate for 6 months - 1 year after getting a tattoo.

How will the blood bank/plasma center determine deferral time? After getting a tattoo, you must bring in a signed doctor's note, complete with contact information of the tattoo artist, address where you got the tattoo, and date the tattoo was inked. Expect some rejections even after bringing a note - blood banks and plasma centers are have several restrictions about donating when you have a tattoo.

The reasons you can't give blood for 6 months - 1 year after getting a tattoo is because of STD risk and lead ink. Long gone are the days where dirty tattoo parlors shared needles between customers - most tattoo parlors are now safe and clean, with bleach sterilized equipment. But donation centers remain cautious.

AIDS, a common STD among shared needle users, takes 6 weeks to show up in the blood, and 6 months to begin showing symptoms. Thus, the 6 month deferral for donating. Also, plasma centers take precaution against blood contaminated with lead - lead being a common ingredient in tattoo ink/coloring.

Can't I just hide my tattoo? Hiding your tattoo to donate isn't advisable - especially if it's a brand new tattoo (inked within the last three months.) Sure, tattoos on the back, shoulders, thighs/legs are easy to hide, but are you sure that your tattoo parlor used safe, sterilized equipment? Old tattoos are safer, but tattooed donors should still take precaution not to contaminate the blood supply.

Can I Donate if I'm pregnant?

No, pregnant women are not allowed to donate plasma at any stage of pregnancy, not during the first, second, or third trimester. The reason pregnant women can't give blood plasma is that low amniotic fluid levels during pregnancy are dangerous (amniotic fluid is made up of plasma.)

Plasma donation replenishes fluids after donating with saline, but the low fluid/plasma levels during donation can result in symptoms like miscarriage (very early pregnancy), nausea, extreme discomfort, racing pulse, loss of bladder control, and premature birth or fainting in late pregnancy.

This is why the pre-screening questions ask if you are currently pregnant before you donate. Pregnant women are deferred from donating for the length of their pregnancy, plus a number of months after giving birth (dependent on the different plasma center's rules.) Pregnant women are normally barred from giving plasma for 6 weeks after giving birth, to allow their bodies to heal.

What if I donated, but didn't know I was pregnant? Donating one time without knowing you were pregnant likely won't cause miscarriage or long-term harm the baby. It will just cause you extreme discomfort, and a feeling of sickness/nausea during donation. Repeat donations however, can cause miscarriage, so once you know you're pregnant, stop plasma donating immediately.

What about if I'm breastfeeding, or on my period?

Yes, you can donate plasma or blood while breastfeeding, or on your period. Once the 6 week restriction after giving birth ends, nursing women are free to donate. However, lactating moms should be careful to stay hydrated - breast milk is made up of 90% water, and plasma donating depletes liquid water in the body.

To ensure sufficient lactation and enough milk supply for the baby, breast feeding mothers should drink at least two 16 oz glasses of water within an hour of donating blood plasma. Also, donate only if your doctor approves, and your baby is a healthy birth weight, or has no trouble maintaining healthy weight.

For women on their period, staying hydrated (by drinking extra water before donating) prevents painful cramps caused by plasma donating during menstruation. Plasma donation during your menstrual period is perfectly safe, if you drink lots of water and have a nutritious meal before going.

Another consideration for donating while on your period is low iron levels. Menstruation depletes iron levels in the blood, and low iron levels is the biggest cause for donation center deferrals/rejection. Menstruating women should take an iron pill, or eat iron rich foods like liver or broccoli before plasma donating.

Can I Donate Plasma After Having a Blood Transfusion?

Without a doubt, one may give blood or even plasma right after having a blood transfusion - however the waiting period (deferral) is actually  a year following the transfusion. At any time you actually have got blood within the us, the probability is that along with sterilized equipment and disposable needles, the blood you got isn't contaminated. Still mutually blood banks and also plasma centers require a 12 month waiting period immediately after a transfusion, immediately after the symptoms of any likely any contaminants would probably surface.

In the event that you accepted a tainted blood IV, or perhaps if you endured cross contaminants, you could actually have developed HIV/AIDS, which may take around 12 months to start showing symptoms. This is actually the reason that volunteer donors must delay 12 months after having a infusion of blood to donate.

If you sailed to French Republic, the UNITED KINGDOM, and also nearly all of European Union and also African states immediately after 1980, and also happened to have a blood transfusion, one is deferred over and over from donating blood and plasma. The logic for this travel limitation is that these regions didn't use sterilized blood transfusion practices right until recently, putting donors who journeyed abroad at high risk for HIV contamination.

Can I Donate If I am Overweight/Obese or Underweight?

Yes, if you are overweight/obese, you can donate plasma. However, most plasma donation centers have a maximum weight limit of 400 pounds, or a BMI (body mass index) limit of over 50. The 400 pound and under weight limit is in place because donating while extremely morbidly obese puts pressure on the heart, potentially causing a heart attack or other heart complications.

Anyone slightly overweight, or obese but under the 400 lbs/over 50 BMI maximum limit, is allowed to donate plasma, as long as the donor is healthy, and their weight isn't causing hypertension (high blood pressure due to stress), heart disease, or diabetes.

If you are underweight, you can donate plasma as well. However, most plasma centers have a minimum weight requirement of 80 pounds, or a lower BMI of 15. You will also receive less money for donating if you are underweight/have a low BMI.

Extremely thin/underweight donors, especially those suddenly losing weight for no reason, might not meet the minimum weight restrictions for donating blood for lack of blood volume to safely give.

Is there an age limit for blood plasma donation?

Yes - senior citizens and the elderly can donate, but only up to the maximum age limit of 64. The lower age limit is not under 18 years old, making the age range for eligible donors 18-64 year old adults. Children and the elderly are barred from donating blood plasma because dangerous complications from dehydration and blood loss increase with very young, and very old age.

Can People with Diabetes Donate?

Yes, people in the US with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can donate plasma, with certain restrictions. To donate plasma with diabetes, you must:

  • Have your diabetes under control through diet and exercise alone (not injectable insulin.)
  • Have not taken injectable insulin or insulin tablets to control diabetes in the past 2 weeks.
  • Have never taken bovine (cattle based) or novo (pork based) insulin due to increased risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
  • Have not taken Soriatane in the past 3 years.
  • Have not taken Accutane, radioactive material injections, Proscar, antivirals, or antibiotics for diabetes in the past 2 months.
  • Bring a signed note from your endocrinologist confirming that your hypoglycemic (blood sugar) levels have been stable for the past two months, and that your diabetes is control through lifestyle changes alone

While plasma donors can donate twice a week with one day interval in between donations, as per FDA regulations, diabetic donors are recommended not to give plasma more than once a month, or once in a 28 day period. Diabetic blood donors should limit blood plasma donation to twice a year, or once in a 6 month period. 

This is because diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) puts stress on small blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys, and heart. Dehydration from blood plasma donation can put high pressure on these delicate blood vessels, leading to numbness, clotting, or even blindness. Only diabetic donors whose diabetes is under controlled without insulin can donate plasma or blood without risk of injury.

Can People with Cancer Donate?

No. People with cancer can't give blood, plasma, platelets, skin tissue, or bone marrow for 5 years after successful cancer treatment (through chemo-therapy or surgical tumor removal.) Current cancer patients, patients whose cancer isn't in remission or has spread to other body tissue in 5 years are ineligible to donate plasma.  Donors who have ever had blood cancer are permanently ineligible to donate:

  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Myeloma
  • Kaposi's Sarcoma

After 5 years, cancer patients whose cancer was successfully treated by surgery, and whose cancer doesn't affect the blood (i.e. breast cancer, brain, liver, stomach, cervical, testicular, and lung cancer survivors) are allowed to donate plasma again. Melanoma (skin cancer) survivors can donate immediately after the tumor/irregular mole/skin growth is removed.

Can You Donate if You Have Anemia?

Anemia is medical term for low hemoglobin levels in the blood. Hemoglobin is made up of iron (FE) and protein, and is used to bind and carry oxygen to vital organs in the body. When you go to donate plasma, the plasma center will first do a finger prick test, which draws a small amount of blood to test hematocrit and hemoglobin levels.

If you have low hematocrit or low hemoglobin (anemia) you will be restricted from donating for one day. This is because anemia while donating causes dizzyness, fainting, fatigue, and trouble breathing in donors.

Common causes of anemia include chronic illnesses, and low iron levels in the blood - especially in menstruating (pre-menopausal) women. Donors with anemia will receive a temporary rejection, but can try again the next day after getting their iron levels up, with iron rich foods (like liver and onions) or by taking an iron pill. Low hemoglobin, or anemia not caused by low iron levels, should be diagnosed by a doctor, and you should stop donating until a diagnosis is determined.

Sickle-cell anemia, a chronic, genetic form of anemia caused by irregular sickle-shaped cells unable to bind iron, is not treatable, and is a criteria for permanent donation deferral .

Can I Donate if I'm sick, or have a cold, or mono?

Plasma donors must happen to be healthy about the day they donate - disqualifying standards incorporate fever over 99 degrees, and also cool or perhaps flu virus signs or symptoms (clammy skin, sniffles, running nostrils, coughing and also sneezing, or perhaps vomiting and queasieness.)

Much much more than ascorbic acid, the body's defense mechanisms relies on plasma in order to make germ-antibodies and blood tissue, and cure the contagion. Plasma donation whilst ill with the cool or perhaps flu virus may delay healing time, and cause difficulties similar to chronic cough, respiratory disease, and pneumonia.

Catching mononucleosis means you can't give blood plasma until the infection is over, and the body has fully healed from infectious bacteria.

Can Smokers Donate Blood Plasma?

Yes, smokers can donate plasma and blood. Most plasma centers recommend waiting one hour after a cigarette to donate, and not smoking for 4 hours after donation.

Can I Donate if I Have Hpv/Herpes/HIV or Hepatitis?

No, you can't donate plasma while you have any STD, or STI including gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV/aids, or Hepatitis A, B, or C. If you have any STD, even if it's been fully treated, or even if you were in a situation that put you at risk for contracting an STD (sharing needles, spending 72 hours or more in lockup, living with someone infected with the disease) you will be barred for 12 months from plasma donating or blood. Incurable infections, like HIV, and Hepatitis B and C, are a permanent bar from plasma donating.

HPV (human papillomavirus), a harmless wart, is spread from skin to skin contact - there is no risk of spreading the papilloma through the blood. Therefore, those with HPV can give blood plasma safely. Those with warts on other parts of their body, like the hands, feet, or facial warts, aren't restricted from donating either.

Herpes, a relative of HPV, is also spread through skin to skin contact - it's a dormant virus that is not spread through the blood. Those with herpes, both HSV1 and HSV2 are therefore eligible to donate plasma. Oral herpes sufferers may donate at any time when blisters are dry and inactive. Those with other types of herpes lesions must wait for 4 weeks of being symptom free to donate, or 4 weeks after the wet (active) blisters have crusted over.

Women who have taken the HPV shot Gardasil are eligible to donate after waiting 3 weeks after the injection.

People with cold sores, a harmless oral strain of herpes simplex virus causing blistering spots on the lips, can donate at any time.

Why Should You Donate Blood Plasma?

Donated plasma makes life-save drug therapies for burn victims and chronic anemia sufferers. One unit of red blood cell donation saves up to 3 lives in cases of otherwise fatal blood loss. Plasma donation also benefits people by making flu shots, and creates drug therapy for premature infants born with low hemoglobin levels. Blood plasma donation really gives the gift of life. For anyone that is a healthy adult between the ages of 18-64, becoming a volunteer blood donor is a noble way to share your good health. If you can give blood plasma, and meet the eligibility requirements above, you can also earn money for your time and generosity.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Plasma Donations?

Q: Do you have to pay taxes when donating plasma? CSL plasma pays $60 a week. I donate plasma every week. I donated plasma 52 times, (or once per week,) at $60 a pop. That means I earned $3120 just from plasma this year. If taxes take a third of that, that means I owe nearly $1000 extra on my taxes. I'm screwed! Do I have to report plasma donation as taxable income?

Answer: No, you don't have to report plasma donation income on your taxes. Most plasma centers won't even ask for your social security number. Plasma donation centers have to pay taxes on money made selling your plasma, however, under Rev. Rul. 78-145, 1978-1 C.B. 169.

Your plasma donation is actually considered a "non-cash gift." Here's what the IRS website says about gifts:

"Generally, you can deduct contributions of money or property you make to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. A contribution is “for the use of” a qualified organization when it is held in a legally enforceable trust for the qualified organization or in a similar legal arrangement. The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person."

CSL plasma falls into this organization category. So not only do you not have to pay taxes on the plasma you donate, you can deduct your time and gas expenses on your taxes as a gift!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Does Donating Blood Plasma Hurt - How Bad's the Pain?

Q: I'm plasma donating for the first time next week. Does plasma donating hurt very bad? What happens when you donate plasma? Are there any health problems to watch out for? Is plasma donating bad for you?  I have read in many places that it's really no different from donating blood except for the time spent. Basically I'm wondering how much it hurts to donate plasma.

Answer:  Plasma donation hurts a little more than a bee sting, because they use a bigger needle than blood draws. You will feel a pinch from the needle going in, then some pressure as the needle rests in your vein. The blood return process is not painful, but will feel cold because of the saline. So far, I have donated plasma, and I am fairly experienced a blood donor. I regularly give blood and plasma at my local Red Cross, for free, so I can only speak from experience.

How to Make Plasma Donation Less Painful

Plasma donation can be painful for both men and women, especially for young donors, or donors with sensitive skin/small veins. But how to make donating less painful? Follow these four simple guidelines:

1.) Pump your hand, use a squeezy. Pumping your hand seems counterproductive, right? Pumping a muscle makes your pulse/blood pressure rise, putting pressure on the nerves. But actually, pumping your hand numbs the nerves, and prevents pain at the injection site. Pumping your hand at a fast speed also keeps blood moving in the plastic tubes - congealed blood can lead to pain, improper saline dosage, and future donation rejection for loss of blood.

2.) Drink Plenty of water. Being dehydrated makes donations longer and more painful. Staying hydrated makes the blood return (the process of pumping the blood back into you) smoother, with less pain and risk of clotting.

3.) Donate plasma in the early morning/evening. You've heard that pumping gas at night increases the liquid flow of the gas, giving you more gas volume for your money, right? Donating plasma in the early morning/evening uses the same science - liquids flow easier when it's cold out, such as early morning and evening hours. Your plasma is 90% liquid water, so increase the donation flow and make donating less painful by planning your donation schedule before or after mid-day. Donating in the morning (instead of during the day or at night) should also mean you relax more during donation, before the stress of the day has begun. Relaxing during donation means less pressure on the nerves, less anxiety, and a less painful donation.

4.) Finally: relax. Anxiety during donation makes you clench your muscles subconsciously, restricting blood vessel flow. Restricting blood flow makes donation harder, and causes more pain, so relax, and clear your mind of anxiety and concerns to make plasma donation less painful.

How You Feel Physically After a Donation

Donating plasma isn't painful most of the time, and it isn't bad for your health, it just takes a little longer. If you donated blood and the small amount of pain didn't bother you, plasma donating should be no different. As for your long term health, if you are relatively healthy, donating plasma should not affect you greatly

How you feel physically after donating, whether you feel arm pain, nausea, or tiredness depends on if you've prepared beforehand, such as drinking plenty of water. If you're in good health and keep your fluid levels up, plasma donation is just as safe as blood donation.

I always tell people who ask me to donate blood first, not plasma, to get used to the donation needle (the blood donation needle is much smaller, and makes for an easier transition.)

I can not comment on the safety of donating for pay, but if you are concerned, you might consider a donation to the local Red Cross or a similar center, if you're not dependent on the money you would otherwise get.

How Bad Does Plasma Donation Hurt Compared to Donating blood?

The same things happen during blood and plasma donations: large bore IV insertion and little finger prick (Hint:. Alternating fingers after a while helps reduce finger pain.) They prick your finger for a quick test, and then they put the needle in your arm and leave it there while you give plasma.

They put a needle in your hand as if donating blood, but the needle is bigger, and it hurts more than giving blood. According to most donors, plasma donation is nothing more than a poke in the finger, and a needle in the hand, like donating blood, but you just lie there watching TV for 45 to 100 minutes.

There is a shortage of both blood and plasma, but more people are willing to give blood just because it's actually a lot easier and less painful to donate whole blood. Donating plasma "hurts" a little more than just donating blood, but plasma is really necessary for life saving immuno-treatment.

Does Donating Plasma Hurt Your Body's Muscle Growth?

For all weight lifters and strength trainers wanting to give plasma, no - plasma donating does not hurt muscle growth. Donating does hinder muscle development in children, especially children 16 and under. But children aren't allowed to give plasma. As long as you are a healthy adult, and stay hydrated, plasma donating doesn't harm your body's muscle growth in any way.

Does Donating get less painful after a while?

Donating plasma can be a little painful during your first donation, but it the area should quickly become numb and free of pain. Regular donors announce their first donation hurting most, with the second and third hurting less. Regular donors develop scarring, reducing the pain of the needle puncture. After months of donation, donors report not feeling the sting of the needle at all - just a slight discomfort while the needle is in the skin.

Are there other Drawbacks to Donating Plasma?

Another down side is to plasma donating is that the anti-coagulant can give a metallicy strange taste in the mouth, or in some cases, numb lips. This is a very common reaction to donating platelets / plasma (whenever citrated blood re-enters the body - so whenever you donate apheresis product).

You can have any complications you would have when you give blood if you are not healthy (a little low on iron, calcium, vitamin K, or anything else.)


Good insertion is usually (but not always) indicated by very little to no bruising. Occasionally I saw some bruises with some donors, nothing major. I only suffered bruises and pain once. The needle is the only thing you can feel. I've been lucky - The few places I've donated at have been very experienced.

Another donor said: "I donated platelets - not plasma, but I believe that the process is very similar - almost every two weeks for almost a year and a half years ago. I was a terrible bruiser, only the most experienced staff would leave me with a tiny bruise. Otherwise I'd get a three to four inch bruise that turned very interesting colors for the next week or so. "

This painful experience was not typical. You should not experience bruising and pain during plasma (or platelet) donation - the only time the donation will cause a painful bruise is if an inexperienced phlebotemist inserts the needle too far, hitting a nerve.

Some people are better skilled in pricking the veins of others, and the volunteer center where I started plasma donating could never get it right. So I started donating to CSL Plasma, and had no pain or bruising since.

What happens during a Donation

Plasma is only one component of blood. It is not any different from donating blood, it is donating blood. You donate whole blood, and they separate in the laboratory or blood bank. Plasma is the blood, and they actually take it apart. They take your blood, and then put through a centrifuge, separating the plasma from the red blood cells.

They then draw blood, separate the plasma from the red blood cells, and red blood cells are put back into your body. A machine filters plasma from blood and (deposits) plasma in a bag. The place I donated at would then put saline in your body after  repeating the cycle 5-6 times. Because the blood is pumped back to you, you can donate plasma more often than you can give blood.

Why give blood or plasma

I donated plasma for extra cash for all my college years, but I only donate whole blood anymore. In college, I gave plasma more than 30 times in six months. For me, it does not hurt more than donating blood.

Plasma donations can be a very noble thing, but you have to think about yourself. A guy I know picked up Hep C from donating blood plasma. Donation is usually safe, but you have to know your body and be careful. I'm sure that if you dig enough you'll find a horror story about plasma donation hurting, but that's the truth about blood plasma donation as well.

Also, do not feel bad if you do not want to donate again because of pain or discomfort. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain during donation, you should be able to tell the staff without feeling stupid, and they should be doing something about it.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How Often Can You Donate Plasma?

Q: Hi, I'm a regular donor in the U.S. Biolife Orem Ut program and I donate twice a week. How often can I donate plasma? (I ask because I know that the American Red Cross states on its website that they will only let you donate 12 times a year - because it's all FDA rules or is it just a red cross policy?) I know that according to FDA regulation a donor can donate twice a week, but is there a limit to the frequency of how many times can I donate?

Also, I had a friend who used to donate plasma for money, and she had a twice per week schedule. Her Blood Bank would only allow people to donate twice a week and desired that people do not donate more than twice a month.

A: For plasma donors, the American Red Cross website says:  

"You can donate every 28 days, and up to 13 times a year. Plasma can be donated at least once every three weeks, preferably every four weeks. Platelet donors can donate as often as every eight days, and up to 24 times in a 12-month period."

For plasma, you can donate frequently as twice in any period of seven days, and you must have at least one rest day between donations. A person can donate more than 2 times every 7 days with at least one day interval between donations. So, you can donate plasma up to two times a week.

During each subsequent visit, a staff member checks the vital signs of the donor, to answer questions about their medical history. Before a donor is accepted Biolife Plasma Services donor program, he or she must undergo a medical examination and review of their medical history.

Donating plasma is a low risk procedure with minimal or no side effects. . Generally, the body of healthy donors can quickly replace the plasma that is removed during the donation. Source Plasma donations can be collected twice a week, while total protein and immunoglobulin levels remain within acceptable limits.

The body replaces the plasma removed during the donation process quick, therefore, a healthy person can donate as often as twice in a seven day period, with at least one day between donations. However, since the person will be able to donate plasma as often as every 48 hours, "safely", some donation centers (like CSL Plasma) may allow an individual to make more donations on a weekly schedule.

International Plasma Donation Rules

In Australia, Australian Red Cross Blood Bank allows individuals to donate plasma every two weeks, although they prefer donations a little further apart. Plasma donors in the UK can donate as often as every 28 days.

But in the United States, federal regulations provide that an individual can donate as often as two times in seven days, with at least two days between donations.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How to Prepare Before and After Plasma Donation

Q: So, What should I do to prepare properly before Donating Plasma?
Answer: Donating plasma is a low risk procedure if you prepare before hand. Avoid caffeine, smoking and drinking before plasma donating to lower your heart rate. Do not smoke a cigarette in an hour before arriving at the center to donate.

Do: Eat carbohydrate heavy foods to avoid fainting from lack of energy. Also, drink plenty of water after you donate to replenish fluids. Be well rested before your plasma donation. It is important to relax your mind before plasma donation, because high blood pressure can lead to donor rejection.

Donation rejection occurs if you have low iron levels, low levels of protein, donate with a fever above 99 degrees, or have high blood pressure.

What Not to Do After Donating Plasma

Don't carry big items for four hours after giving, and do not workout for one day. Strenuous physical exercise (activity and exercise, energy resistance training, or perhaps cardio workouts) immediately after giving, weight lifting, and also running/cardiopulmonary exercise/jumping jacks, may make the bandage come off, or even re-open the giving vein.

Particularly, do not lift weights the day following selling blood plasma for cash. In the worst case scenario, physical activity following donation can easily increase blood clotting concentrate in the donation vein. Things to not eat or drink the day following donating are alcoholic beverages, saturated fatty foods, and also tobacco smoking. Delay the urge to smoke at least an 60 minute block immediately after donation, and rather a day following donation.

Drink how much water before Donating Plasma?

Drink an extra 16 oz. juice or non-alcoholic fluids before the donation. A couple of glasses of water before you go to is also good. Basically, the water should be your go-to drink the day before and day of each plasma donation.

Water keeps hydration levels up, so be sure to drink plenty of water before and after plasma donation. I usually try to drink at least half a liter of water a day before donating and a few glasses before going to donate.

Drinking plenty of water before the donation process actually speeds up the process. Believe me, it's done wonders for my donation times. Being dehydrated means that you probably will feel bad when you donate, and your hydration levels affect how long it will take a donation. Plus, when I leave the donation center, I was not as dehydrated, because I've still got some water in my system.

Can I have caffeine / alcohol before plasma donation?

Also, avoid caffeine for better health for a smoother plasma donation process. Caffeine can cause increased heart rate, which does not make the process of plasma donation easy. If you drink juice or tea with food or snacks, make sure it is caffeine free. Avoid drinking alcohol the night before and the day of your donation, and at least four hours after donation.

Can I Take Aspirin or Other Analgesic Medication Before Donating Plasma

Bayer aspirin is a blood thinner, so it's not a good idea to donate plasma while on regular aspirin therapy. If you occasionally take aspirin tablets for headaches, or other aches and pains, you must wait 4 hours after taking aspirin to donate plasma. Ideally, don't take aspirin the day of plasma donation at all. This also goes for other headache medicines and blood thinners, like Advil, Advil PM, liquigels, capsules, powders, and sleeping pills with pain medication.

Can I donate while I'm having my period?

Yes, ladies should bare in mind that making a plasma donation when at that time of the month/menstruating is perfectly safe, with excess protective safety measures. Plasma donation can influence additional monthly period cramps, especially while dehydrated, so it's in particular essential for women facing that time of the month to drink excess water before donating. Do not donate when expectant, but, as donating whilst expecting can easily factor pregnancy difficulties, hazardously low liquid degrees, and fainting. Expecting mothers ought to hold off at least 6 months right after being born just before securely making a plasma donation again.

What Are the Best things to eat before Donating Plasma?

Eat a healthy meal before your donation. You want to eat a big meal the night before and eat something high in carbs right before you enter. Pasta is a carbohydrate-rich food especially recommended the night before donating.  Other good foods to eat before donating are macaroni with cheese, mashed potatoes, and baked or steamed vegetables.

Iron rich and protein rich foods are the best things to eat before plasma donation, foods like liver and broccoli. If you do not have enough iron in the blood the plasma donation center will reject you as a donor, at least until you get your low iron levels up.

Ok, so maybe I'm not into health food, but two days a week when I donate, you can bet that I get enough protein, vitamins, iron and carbohydrate snacks, etc, to make my body happy (and not be rejected for donation.) Needless to say, I also take iron pills before and after each donation these days to avoid rejection.

Eat a good meal before and after plasma donating. Eating healthy before plasma donation not only raises the iron levels and protein levels of blood, but it also keeps you from getting sick while donating. Eat foods rich in proteins, some before you go, too (low protein may get you rejected from plasma donating.)

Things to Avoid Eating Before Donating Plasma

Avoid fatty and high-cholesterol foods 24 hours before donation.

Avoid: foods such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating. Eating fatty foods before plasma donation can give your Plasma a milky appearance. Your plasma should be yellow (straw colored) to dark red color. If your plasma has a milky color, you will be banned from plasma donating that day.

Do: snack before and after. Eat healthy snacks (such as a banana or energy bar) after donating.

What to Do After Donating Plasma

Wait to take the bandage off! I've seen numerous donors who impatiently take their bandages off right after donating, then start bleeding all over the donation floor. I've also seen bandages and gauze littering the parking lot (from impatient donors who rip their arm bandages off on the way to their cars.) The bandage and gauze are there to stop bleeding, and prevent infection at the donation site. Wait at least 4 hours before taking the donation bandage off.

After plasma donating, relax your body.

Eat before and after donation, to replenish lost vitamins. Other good foods to eat after donation:

  • Green vegetables (broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, and celery)
  • Protein rich foods (red meat, steak, beef, pork, or plant proteins like beans and eggs)
  • Plain yogurt
  • Electrolyte drinks (Gatorade, or other sports waters with electrolytes)
  • Fruits (banana, strawberry, papaya, or pineapple)
  • Plenty of water (especially vitamin enhanced, or sugar water)

Plasma Center Rejection for Fever

If you feel a fever/high temperature coming on, but only slightly, take your temperature before going to the donation center to donate plasma. Avoid donation rejections if you're feeling sick. Upon returning, the nurses will want to know exactly when your fever breaks, because you will be banned from plasma donating for several days after your high temperature diminishes.

These are tips on how to prepare for plasma donation (and avoid reasons for rejection.)

 Good for you to donate plasma. But the fact that the donation center pays me money for plasma donating is not the only reason I continue to donate plasma long term. Just think, the money is nice, but make sure that your heart is in the right place before you donate.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What to Drink Before Plasma Donation?

Thank you for donating your time and energy to donate your plasma. You should know that plasma is 90% water. You can help donate this life giving substance by staying properly hydrated for today's donation.

However, what you will drink is just as important as how much. Stay away from alcohol before and at least four hours after your donation.

So what should you drink? 

Drink juice or water. We recommend 64 ounces of water a day. That sounds like a lot, but being properly hydrated will potentially keep you from feeling lightheaded after the donation is done, and is good for you. Lots of donations also pump up your veins, which will assist the donation process.

And, if you exercise before coming drink extra fluid before and after your donation. One last thing about your beverage - if drinking within one hour of the screening process, check the temperature.

Because if it's too hot or too cold control of your body temperature reading can prevent you from donating. In the meantime, sit back and relax. You're saving lives.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Q: How to Speed Up Plasma Donation?

Answer: Plasma donation normally takes 45-90 minutes. You can make plasma donation go faster by following these simple steps: drink up to 16 oz of water, pump your hand, and take a spoonful of (what's that now?) vegetable oil! Why? Imagine the red blood cells being balloons. If water is a good plasma lubricant for blood cells, then cooking oils like vegetable or olive oils lubricates blood cells even better.

Drink More Water for Faster Donation

Water makes up 90% of blood plasma. The other 10% of plasma is proteins and hemoglobin. Water, when taken in excess, makes plasma donation faster by thinning the blood (specifically the plasma.)

Why? Think of red blood cells as balloons slip-sliding all over each other, with plasma being the lubricant that moves and supports them. When you drink more water, the balloons have less friction, and therefore flow faster.

How much Water for Plasma Donation?

Never drink more than 8 glasses of water a day, or more than 64 oz (which is what the FDA recommends.) Why does the FDA recommend 64 oz of water? Because excessive water intake can actually dilute vital nutrients in the blood, like iron and protein. Plasma donation centers check both protein and iron nutrients, and will quickly reject plasma donors for low blood levels.

Don't dilute your iron or protein, and risk a rejection. 64 oz (or 4 Nestle Pur Life water bottles) a day is all most healthy adults need for kidney function, and slippery plasma. Drink 4 water bottles the day before, and one water bottle before plasma donation, along with an iron pill. This will make plasma donation go faster - you'll take a rapid 45 minutes in the donation chair instead of the full 90 minutes.

Pump Your Hand for Faster Plasma Times

This plasma donation step is something even veteran donors forget. When the phlebotomist asks if you want a squeezy toy during donation, they're not just being polite. Squeezing a stress ball/squeezy toy, or pumping your hand during donation, makes the blood in your arm veins flow faster.

If you don't pump your hand at all, the blood in your arm veins or donation tube will congeal, blocking the plasma flow. You'll then get a nice red light and a beeping plasmapheresis machine, which will make the phlebotomists come running. When a blockage happens, the assistants must quickly get the blood flowing again. If they can't, the donor risks blood getting stuck in the plasmapheresis machine, with a 6 month donation deferral to boot.

So, squeeze your fist (or ask for a stress ball to squeeze) and watch your plasma donation times speed up rapidly.

Take a Spoonful of Vegetable/Olive Oil for Plasma Donation

Taking a spoonful vegetable or olive oil for plasma donation sounds strange, but it's done wonders to make my own plasma donation times more rapid. It used to take me an hour to donate plasma, but now it takes me a quick 45 minutes or under to donate.

Don't take this as excuse to guzzle the vegetable oil, though. A large spoonful is usually enough to cleanse the veins, and make plasma donation go faster. Extra virgin olive oil is even better, since a spoonful of (uncooked) vegetable oil a day has added unsaturated fat benefits of heart health.

Extra note on fats: Saturated fats, like the ones in your cheeseburger, actually clog the blood vessels, making plasma donation slower. A common plasma deferral/rejection reason is slow plasma flow, due to eating too much saturated fat. While olive oil (and avocado, and peanuts - all unsaturated fats) make plasma flow faster, saturated fats make plasma thicker, and slower flowing. So, skip the ice cream, cheese burgers, and french fries the day before donation, and take unsaturated fats to donate faster.

Finally, don't donate plasma with high blood pressure. If your pulse is higher than normal, the plasma donation will make you sit in the waiting lobby for an extra 5-10 minutes, adding to your donation time. If, after your wait in the lobby, your pulse stays high, you will be rejected for high blood pressure.

These are tips to donate plasma faster. So relax, drink your water, pump your squeezy, and drink a tablespoon of vein-cleansing vegetable oil to speed up plasma donation times.
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