Did you know you can donate more than just whole blood to patients in need? Platelets and plasma can be collected simultaneously and are used to help patients with numerous conditions. Chances are, you know someone who has benefitted from platelet or plasma donation.
- Platelets are used as therapeutic treatment for patients undergoing chemotherapy or an organ transplant, or those with compromised immune systems.
- The colorless blood cell fragments help blood clot and prevent bleeding.
- ONE platelet donation can provide up to three therapeutic doses for patients in need.
- Donors with blood types A+, B+ and AB are especially encouraged to give platelets.
- They have a shelf life of 5 days, so they are especially in demand.
- Plasma is a fluid component of blood comprised of 92 percent water and is used to treat burn, trauma, bleeding disorder and cancer patients.
- It contains vital proteins, clotting factors, hormones and vitamins.
- If you are blood type AB, your plasma is universal and can be used by anyone, regardless of their blood type.
- Plasma is frozen and can be stored for up to a year.
The collection process only takes about an hour and a half to two hours, with an automated machine collecting platelets and plasma at the same time. Blood is drawn from your arm with a needle and is then sent through the machine, which collects plasma and platelets, then returns your blood and some saline back into your body. You can donate up to 13 times a year, or every 28 days.
For more information on donating platelets and plasma, visit a blood collection site like the American Red Cross.