Think you can’t donate because of travel overseas? Keep reading! You might be able to donate plasma instead.

If you’re a blood donor who has tried to donate after being overseas, you’ve probably discovered that the two activities are not always compatible. Stand-down periods are needed for travel to certain countries due to some blood-borne diseases being present and the risk they could be passed on.  

As red blood cell transfusions are often given to people with poor immune systems or who are unwell, they would become very sick very quickly with these infections.

However, did you know that even if you can’t donate regular blood after travel, you might be able to donate just the plasma portion of your blood? This is because plasma processed into protein concentrates receives special treatments that can clear most infections.

Donating plasma is a slightly different process to donating whole blood but the needle is similar. It takes longer because a special machine takes some of your blood, separates out the plasma and then returns everything else to you, all through the same needle! Although the donation process takes longer than for whole blood (around 60-70 minutes total from time you arrive to when you leave).As your red cells are returned to you, you can actually donate plasma as often as every two to three weeks!

Plasma donations require donors to meet some additional criteria and to book specific appointments, so if you are keen to learn more about whether you can donate plasma, please ask about it next time you donate, call 0800 448 325 or click here

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