Platelet is one of the major components of blood which you can donate. It is responsible for proper clotting of blood. It plays an important role when the person gets wounded. Just like the whole blood, it is also an essential element that can save the lives of many people.
Platelets are vital to stop bleeding among people who experience traumatic injuries and disease treatment. There are about millions of people who need platelet transfusion, and the demand is growing each day. So, when you decide to give, you must think that it is a lifetime help that you can provide to someone. A single donation of platelet can undoubtedly change the life of a person.
Before you donate a platelet, there are vital things that you must remember. The first thing is to ensure that you are eligible to donate. You must also feel comfortable before and during the process for you to have a better experience. Then, you must also prepare yourself before the process starts.
One of the best preparations that you can do is to eat iron-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, dairy products, grains, and red meat. Drink water because it is expected that you will lose plenty of fluids during the process.
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You must also avoid coffee or any alcoholic drink. Both these beverages can increase the loss of fluid in your body. It can also affect your recovery. You may experience mouth dryness and fatigue if you consume any of these drinks. The alcohol can also cause frequent urination which will lead to excessive loss of fluid in your body.
Remember that you must be hydrated, so you have enough to give. You need water to increase the volume of your blood. Aside from that, it can also speed up your recovery after the donation because it can quickly replace the lost fluids.
Where would your platelet go?
If you aim to give your platelet, it is vital for you to know if who will receive your donation. Just imagine the life that you can change once you become eligible to donate.
Platelets are often used to treat persons with cancer and blood disorders. Usually, the cancer patients experience a low platelet count while they undergo the treatment. The medicine or chemotherapy may cause it. The chemo can damage the platelets and other cells resulting in low platelet count. If this problem is not treated, excessive bleeding may occur. It is why some cancer patients only need platelet transfusion instead of the whole blood.
It is also essential to save the life of an accident victim or those who have serious injuries. They need platelet transfusion to replace the lost platelets due to excessive bleeding.
A platelet transfusion is needed by patients who undergo bone marrow or organ transplant. It keeps them alive and allows them to recover fast. A single donation can sometimes treat up to three patients. Some donors who have experienced donating platelets reported that they feel less weak after the procedure.
Eligibility for donating platelets
It is essential to follow all the eligibility requirements before you can give to ensure that the transfusion is safe for the recipient. The blood centers must regulate the process and rules while the donors must strictly abide by these regulations.
Depending on the state, an individual must meet the weight and height requirements. Usually, those who are 16 t 17 years old are already eligible to donate. In some states, people who have this age should need a parental consent by filling out a form signed by their parent or guardian.
If you are a regular donor, ensure that you bring your donor ID with you. For first time donors, any valid ID will do.
Do not take aspirin or any product containing this substance for 48 to 72 hours before you come to your appointment. It is because this medicine can reduce the production of your platelet count.
You will be asked a series of questions that will determine your travel and medical history. The medical staff needs to know if you have traveled or stayed in countries that are affected by infectious diseases. They will also check if you have been diagnosed with specific disorders. They need to make sure if your illness does not infect the recipient.
For women, the staff will check their pregnancy history. It was recently discovered that they are more likely to acquire antibodies after they got pregnant. Once they have their platelets or blood transfused to someone else, the recipient will get complications that can worsen the disease.
Currently, the blood centers ask women if they got pregnant and conduct tests to see if they have antibodies. Take note that it will not impact the donor even though she carried the antibodies. However, the effect of the issue will go to the health of the recipient.
Now that you have already learned that you are eligible to donate your platelets, it is time for you to be prepared. There are certain things that you must expect during the ongoing process.
There are some differences between donating whole blood from platelet alone. This type of donation requires you to set an appointment, and you must inform the staff three days before your schedule if you are unable to attend.
Since you will only be donating your platelet, the machine will extract this element from your body while the other components of your blood will be returned to you. The process of platelet donation takes about three hours to complete. It includes the 75-minute actual platelet donation, and the rest involves the registration and other activities.
Unlike the whole blood donation which only needs one arm to collect the substance, the process of platelet donation will have to use both arms. The machine will extract the platelet from the other arm while returning the red blood cells and other blood components to the other arm.
You are only allowed to donate platelets up to 24 times in a year. The platelets can only live up to five days in the storage. Due to this short lifespan, it must be used before it expires. It is why there is a high number of platelet donation needed to cover the growing demand.
There is nothing to worry about if you want to donate a platelet. Each needle being used is sterile and discarded after the process. Only a small needle is used during this procedure. It may hurt you slightly, but you can become comfortable after it is inserted properly.
Usually, the donor feels chills while the other blood components are returned to his body. He may also feel a tingling sensation during the process. These experiences are just , and there is also a staff to keep you comfortable.
It is also essential to remember that you must get a good night sleep before your appointment. It will help you feel relaxed and refreshed the following day when you attend to your schedule.
All aspiring donors are encouraged to donate a platelet except for those have blood type B negative and type O negative. These two blood types are suitable for giving their whole blood or two units of red blood cells which is also called the Power Red donation. For people with blood type AB, it is suitable for you to donate plasma.
Platelet Donation Procedure
The staff will first clean your skin in which the needle will be inserted. Then, a cuff will be placed around your arm. Before the actual donation, a blood sample must be taken to check your blood type, tissue type, and platelet count. Other kinds of laboratory tests are needed to determine that your platelets do not contain any virus or infection that can infect the recipient.
The sample tests are essential so the medical staff can match your blood or platelet to the patient who needs it. It will also help them ensure that the recipient will receive a healthy platelet that will be replaced to his body. Thankfully, we have advanced technology to help us determine these aspects accurately.
During the actual donation, your whole blood will be drawn. An anticoagulant will be mixed with the substance. Then, a machine is used to filter the platelets from the other components of blood. The tool will also return the rest of the blood to your body. It is made sure that the white cells will not remain on the platelets because it could cause complication to the patient.
All the needles and other materials being used in the process are sterile. It is not advisable to use them again because it can contaminate other donors. It is also done so that the people feel confident that they will not be getting any infection after the procedure has been done.
The machine is undoubtedly advanced because it can detect the sterile air that comes with the collected platelets travels into your vein. The device will shut down once it finds the air. It will only restart when it is sure that the air is completely eliminated.
A staff or nurse will take care of the donor during the process. He or she is assigned to monitor the progress of the procedure, as well as make sure that the donor will not faint out. You are allowed to talk to him while the blood is being drawn so you will feel comfortable.
When the procedure is done, the staff will remove the needle as well as the machine connected to you. Then, he will apply a dressing to the venipuncture site to prevent bleeding and protect the area.
After the donation process, reward yourself with some nutritious refreshments to replace the lost fluid and energy from your body. It is advisable to eat platelet-boosting foods such as spinach, orange, fish, chicken, or asparagus. It is also vital to drink water to keep you hydrated.
Are there side effects of donating platelets?
Donating your whole blood is the same feeling when you complete a platelet donation. Some donors fainted during the session may be because of fear or they did not eat their meal before going to the appointment.
The staff will take your vital signs and blood pressure before they start the procedure. However, some donors still faint due to nervousness. It is why it is always recommendable to follow the instructions and right things to do before the session starts.
The person may also have bruises on the area where the needle was inserted. It is estimated that the average blood volume that is lost from your body is about 80 to 100 milliliters. This amount includes the sample of blood when the medical personnel does the testing.
The staff will also add an anticoagulant to the blood that is flowing into the machine. It is to prevent blood clotting or any complication. Then, a small amount of citrate solution is mixed with the red blood cells, and they are returned to your body. This procedure may only cause a tingling sensation in your fingers.
You will also have a metallic taste and your nerves seem like vibrating during the donation. However, there is nothing to worry because it is just a typical reaction of your body and it is not considered dangerous. You can approach the staff to adjust some settings in the machine.
It is also normal to feel chill while the red blood cells are being returned to you. You may ask for a warm blanket if it happens. You may then come back after seven days if you are planning to donate your platelets again.
It is vital to remember all of these procedures and safety tips as part of your preparation of donating blood. Every single donation has a significant impact on the lives of the people who need your kind heart. In return, you must also take care of yourself after the donation process because you did a rewarding job that only a few people have the courage to do.