Kids, moms and dads, teachers, friends and neighbors – the people who need blood and plasma to live a normal life are just like you. And they rely on donations from people like you every day.
Blood transfusions help people who have been in accidents, need major surgeries or even during childbirth.
Because there are 8 different blood subtypes8
O+, O-, A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-
– it’s important all kinds of people donate. That includes those with different blood types as well as different races and ethnicities.
In fact, African Americans are more likely to have the specific blood type needed to help treat Sickle Cell Disease9.
Before your appointment, drink plenty of water, at least two large glasses, and eat a healthy, low-fat meal with iron-rich foods, like spinach, beans or meat.
When it’s time to donate, a technician will cleanse an area on your arm and insert a new, sterile needle for the blood draw. You’ll likely feel a quick pinch that’s over in a few seconds.
When you’re done, take it easy. No heavy lifting or working out for a few hours and drink plenty of fluids.
Plasma donation can take about 1.5 –3 hours5. You’ll need to pass medical exams, screening, and testing before you become eligible to donate (check the requirements with your donation center before you go!).
There are two ways plasma is retrieved. One is a lot like a whole blood donation. Then the plasma is separated out in the lab—this is called recovered plasma.
The other—called source plasma—also starts with a blood draw. But instead of the donation being sent out to a lab, the plasma is separated from the red blood cells while you wait, and the red blood cells are returned to the body (through a process called plasmapheresis). Either way, it all starts with a donor who wants to give back6.
To prepare for plasma donation, get a good night’s rest, drink plenty of water 2-3 hours before and eat a healthy, low-fat meal prior to your appointment.
When it’s time to donate, a technician will prepare your arm with antiseptic, insert a new, sterile needle and begin the donation process. Most people compare the feeling of the needle to a mild bee sting, but that sensation will only last a few seconds.
After your donation, eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid tobacco for at least half an hour and stay away from strenuous activities for 24 hours. Take it easy, you’ve just done a good deed!
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