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The Process Behind Blood, Platelet, and Plasma Donation

09.16.2009 · Posted in Health Articles

Donating blood can be intimidating. Many of us are concerned about needles and potential risks of giving blood. If you look more closely, however, you will see that not only is donating blood, plasma, and platelets safe and relatively painless, it is also a great thing to do for your community.nnBlood products, including whole blood, platelets, and plasma, are used in a number of life saving procedures. Burn victims, surgery patients, trauma victims, and people with hemophilia may all need blood donations to survive. Furthermore, the people who develop vaccines need plasma from people with resistances to do their work.nnAnyone who wants to donate blood must fill out a questionnaire asking about various risk factors for blood borne diseases to protect those who will be receiving your blood. If you have certain illnesses, have recently had a tattoo, or have visited certain countries you may not be able to donate. Some of these factors will disqualify you from donating at any time, while others will just mean you have to wait for a certain period of time.nnAfter the questionnaire, the nurses will take your temperature, ask you a few more questions, and give you a finger stick to take a sample of your blood. This sample is tested for iron levels to make sure it is safe for you to give blood. If everything is alright at this point, you are ready to donate.nnIf you are qualified to donate, you will then be seated with one arm propped on an armrest. The blood will be drawn from your inner elbow, so this area will be sterilized. The nurse will put a tourniquet on your arm and then find a vein with the needle.nnAll that’s left to do is sit back and let your heart do the work. You may be asked to squeeze a foam ball to speed the process along. If at any point you start to feel woozy, tell some one and they will help you.nnOnce the donation is over the nurse will wrap your arm and ask you to lift it above your head. This helps it to clot more quickly. Once you’re all bandaged up you will be free to go, and the center will give you either food or drink to help you on your way to forming more blood.nnYour donation could be used to save three lives, and may help you with incentives such as t-shirts, gift cards, or cash. Blood donation is well worth the small amount of time and discomfort it may cause.nnBlood mobiles and blood banks are a great place to make your donations. Most of these centers will have a website to help you find their phone number and address. Hospitals need your donation, so if you qualify find a blood bank near you.

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