Presenting at TEDxQUT not too long ago, research student and sessional academic, Dominic Kauter shared his idea on how to get more people donating plasma. And rightfully so.
Sure, the Red Cross can separate your whole blood donation and retrieve the plasma, but we agree with Dominic that young Aussies should be educated and aware of the need and uses for this component of blood.
So, what is plasma and what does it do?
In a nutshell, plasma is the yellow tinged liquid component of blood that holds the cells in suspension. It makes up about 55 per cent of your whole blood and contains important proteins, nutrients and clotting factors which are integral to preventing and stopping bleeding. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service recognises it as “the most versatile component of your blood [as] donated plasma makes up to 17 life-saving products that help patients with trauma, burns and blood diseases” and can be stored for up to one year after the day of donation.
How can you donate plasma?
The process for donating plasma is a little different to the regular whole blood donation, which you must have completed at least . Via a process called apheresis and a handy piece of machinery, the lovely people at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service are able to separate the plasma from your the rest of your blood. Red cells, white cells and platelets are returned to the donor, at the time of donation, with some saline over the course of around 45 minutes to an hour- plenty of time of you to kick back and relax!
As a result, you are able to donate plasma every 2-3 weeks and with every apheresis donation you make, you are able to donate a larger volume. This means you are potentially assisting more people in need and saving more lives- how cool is that?!
What is the criteria for a prospective plasma donor?
- have given at least 1 successful whole blood donation in the past 2 years.
- be between a male aged 18-65 or a female aged 20-65
- weigh 50kg or more
Do you tick all these boxes? Please consider donating plasma today, especially if you can help the ARCBS with the particular need for blood type A, AB and B donations. To start donating plasma and helping others, give the Australian Red Cross Blood Service a call on 13 14 95 or simply visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/ready-to-donate/make-appointment.