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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...