Plasma Donation Tips and Tricks

Simple Tips and Tricks for Easier Donation

So, you’ve decided to donate plasma. Good for you! Your donation is very important, and the people who receive your plasma, although you don’t hear directly from them, are very thankful. You’re doing a wonderful thing.

But, you’re having some trouble during the donation process; maybe you’ve been told that your plasma is “cloudy” or you’ve noticed someone else who donates the same volume you do, is finishing their donation a lot more quickly than you are. Why is this happening? Well, after 5 years of donating plasma, I’ve learned a lot, and I’m here to share my knowledge of the most common donation issues I’ve seen firsthand.

Cloudy Plasma

If you’ve been told that your plasma is “cloudy” it could be because you’re eating foods that are fatty. Did you eat a McDonald’s cheeseburger before you went in for your donation? Although the meat in your burger may be providing the protein and iron your body needs for a good donation, you’ll also be consuming a high level of grease, making your plasma appear cloudy. I’ve actually seen a donor who has clogged up the plasmapheresis machine because their plasma is so thick due to a diet like this. Eating leaner meats and avoiding greasy foods before your donation will help clear this up considerably.

Long Donation Times

If you’re noticing that your donation time seems to be considerably longer than others around you, it may be due to dehydration. If you’re not drinking enough water throughout your day, it’s going to make your blood “thicker”. When this happens, there is less plasma (the liquid part of your blood) that can be extracted during each donation cycle. This means you’ll have to sit through more cycles in order to extract the pre-determined amount of plasma. So, you’ve heard it since grade school… don’t forget to drink your water!

Your donation time may also be longer than others, if you aren’t opening and closing your hand during the extraction cycle. Opening and closing your hand aids in the flow of blood through your veins. I prefer to use a “squeezy ball” or stress ball during my donation.

Vibrating or Tickling in the Arm during Donation

If you’ve ever experienced this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This happens when the needle is resting on the side of your vein (on the inside). This can be easily fixed by having the Phlebotomist either adjust the rate at which the blood is being extracted from your body, or by adjusting the position of the needle in your arm.

Faint or Dizzy Feeling

I’ve never experienced this, personally, but I’ve seen a hand full of people who have. This is very common in people who haven’t eaten well enough before their scheduled donation. If you’ve donated blood, it’s the same idea. It can also be common for those whose hematocrit levels just meet the minimum requirements. If you’ve ever been diagnosed as having anemia, or borderline anemia (which I am), this can also make you feel a little dizzy after your donation (similar to standing up too fast). Be sure to sit up on the edge of the donation bed slowly, make sure you’re okay, before exiting the donor floor.

Once you leave the donation center, you may need to eat a small snack to help relieve any dizzy feelings you may still feel. This usually passes quickly, but if you’ve noticed this happening, keeping a snack on hand to eat immediately after your donation will help. And be sure to eat your iron-rich foods!

Bleeding at the Puncture Site

Remember, after your donation, the site of your needle stick will be covered with a gauze bandage and wrapped to hold the gauze in place. This bandage should be left on for 1-2 hours to ensure that the puncture site has formed a clot and any bleeding has stopped. I’ve actually had times when I’ve had to pull the gauze bandage off very slowly to prevent the newly formed scab from being pulled off with the bandage. If your puncture site does start to bleed, either you didn’t leave the bandage on long enough, or the puncture hole has been re-opened. You’ll want to re-bandage your arm with new gauze and leave it on as long as it takes for the new scab to form and all bleeding to stop.

Pain at the Puncture Site

If you experience any pain in your arm during your donation, let the Phlebotomist know immediately. This can usually be fixed by having them reposition the needle within the vein. However, a sharp, strong pain may be an indication that the vein being used for your donation has “blown” or broken open. In the 5 years I’ve donated plasma, this has happened to me one time. If it happens, you’ll know. Although, not common, it does happen.

I hope these little bits have helped you understand, and correct, some of the issues that arise during your plasma donation.

If you're having problems with low hematocrit or protein numbers, check out my hub dedicated to this issue.

Again, happy donating!

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Comments 90 comments

mand0 3 years ago

i have a question? I have been donating plasma for almost a year my brother in law also donates like me. The only thing about donating with him is that he always beats me and the weird part is that he's heavier and allot fatter that me why is it that he's always finishing faster than me even though he's heavy and fatter than me?

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camarochix72 3 years ago from USA Author

How hydrated you are will make a big difference on the length of time for your donation. Make sure you drink a good amount of water, not just the day of your donation, but all week. It takes your body longer than a few hours to replenish any lost fluids from your previous donation, sweat, and also loss from a salty diet. Also, fatty foods will make your plasma thicker, making it harder to run through the machines, in turn making your donation take longer. So, water, water water and step away from the cheeseburgers and fries the day of your donation. I hope this helps!

cody366 3 years ago

Do you know what it might mean if blood starts going into your plasma collection bottle instead of plasma, this is what happened to me and they said i couldn't come back for 8 weeks.i was almost finished donating and then it just messed up and blood started going into the bottle.

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camarochix72 3 years ago from USA Author

I have never had this happen to me, but I have seen it happen on the donor floor. From what I've seen, it's a machine malfunction, and nothing you did or could have done to prevent it. Once the donor was unhooked, the machine was tagged and rolled off the donor floor for adjustments.

Because you lost red blood cells, they must treat you like they would a normal blood donor, no matter how minimal your red blood cell loss may have been. The minimum wait between blood donations is 8 weeks, simply because your body takes longer to replenish those lost red blood cells than it does plasma.

As frustrating as it can be, to be out that 8 weeks of donations, it's necessary to wait the 8 weeks so your body can effectively heal and replenish.

Andrew Williams 3 years ago

Where do I find the passes that put you at the front of the line?

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camarochix72 3 years ago from USA Author

Because every donation center varies (the one I went to was first come-first serve), you will need to contact your center directly.

Wes 2 years ago

I have been donating twice a week since July of this year and most of the time I get done in under and hour with no problems. However, a handful of times there have been low/no flow problems. The first few cycles are always fine and then the yellow low flow and red no flow lights start coming on. The staff then come and try to adjust the needle but it never helps. It's very odd because I have great veins and no one understands why this happens sometimes. Any ideas or tips?

John 2 years ago

I donated plasma over the weekend and the needle used to return the blood ended breaking my vein. At first I felt a a really sharp pain around the puncture site and I felt the pain increasing up my arm towards my hand. I told them about it and they stopped the procedure as I slowly passed out although I didn't. It only hurt for about a minute after and felt fine after a few minutes.

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Wes, I have had the same problem in the past. Most of my donation times averaged 32 minutes, however, there were times when it took nearly an hour for the exact same reason you described. I was told on multiple occasions by the staff on the donation floor, and the nurse working there, that it's due to either thicker plasma (not hydrated enough) or because the needle is too far into the vein causing it to be too close to, or touching the walls of the vein. I've also had issues, just as you described, where no matter how many times they adjusted the needle (usually backing it out a little) it still wouldn't fix the issue.

I wish I had a more concrete answer for you, but you and I have experienced the same issue, and it sounds like we were both unfortunate enough to have a similar outcome.

Stan 2 years ago

I have noticed during the saline return that chinks from the filter are going back into my arm. These aren't going to effect me are they?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

What you're seeing is some of your own red blood cells that were still hanging around in the tubing that are being returned during the saline process. Since the same line is used for the blood and saline, it's no different than a normal return cycle during your donation.

T.T. 2 years ago

I just donated for the first time. I left feeling okay, drank water all the way home. I stopped for 3 quick errands about 1.5 hours later and all of a sudden felt very flushed, almost fainted. Should I donate again or skip it.

T.T. 2 years ago

I forgot to mention that during the saline process the machine beeped and my arm started to hurt, they removed it without finishing and gave me a small cup of water to drink before I left.

mary de la Rosa 2 years ago

i attempted to do this process a few months back and when the blood was being put back, i was in pain. when i told the girl she said its normal. the pain was so bad one of the other girls came to my aid and removed the needle. my vein had ruptured and the time i had waited to see if pain had passed had only made things worst. now months later i still have problems with my arm but Red Cross isn't doing anything to help me and the pain is getting worse. would u know what it might be that hurts.

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Feeling faint after donation is fairly common. Since this has happened to you, make sure you eat something before you go to donate (doesn't have to be a large meal, a snack will suffice), and eat something after donation (like a candy bar or something with a little sugar). Although this never happened to me personally, I was told at the very beginning of my donation process that most of the time eating will help eliminate, or lesson the dizzy feeling, much like getting a cookie and juice after a blood donation.

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

I've had a vein rupture during donation. I had a softball size bruise in the crook of my arm that lasted about 4 weeks. The pain lasted for about a week and a half, however, since you're having pain this far out from your attempted donation, I would recommend seeing a doctor. Give them as much detail about the experience you had during your donation process and the after affects you've been living with. I hope this helps and you feel better very soon!

Lennylenard 2 years ago

On my first visit they said they test all the plasma of hep B, and C. I have been vaccinated with hep B. I know that the vaccine they give you is the actual virus. Am i going to get a positive test for Hep B due to my vaccination? If not why not?

cameronstokes 2 years ago

I've donated plasma for 3 years and I've had the same question as lennylennard. Is it ok for me to be vaccinated or will it ruin my ability to donate?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Lennylenard and cameronstokes,

Vaccinations and antibotics require a waiting period before you will be eligible to donate again. Every vaccination and antibotic is different and the length of time you'll have to wait varies. I've personally had wait times vary from one week to one month. I've also heard (not my personal experience) that each center varies also.

My best advise, call the center where you donate, let them know what vaccination you'll be getting and find out their specific rules.

Ralph Dunkley 2 years ago

What do they test for in the urine sample?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

The center where I donated told me point-blank before my very first physical, to think of it as a random drug test.

Ralph Dunkley 2 years ago

What company do you donate with?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

I donated for 5 years at a Biolife Plasma Services, but have since moved to an area that doesn't have any type of donation centers available.

Medic1940 2 years ago

I was told i have IC when i donated, and they wont let me come back! What is it and why can't i donate anymore. They said I was healthy, and to not worry about it!

lennylenard 2 years ago

You didn't really mention why i don't come back positive for Hep after i got the vaccine! Any ideas?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Most vaccinations have an incubation period, this is why you must wait to donate after receiving one. Once past that period, if you're not experiencing any symptoms that would indicate you do indeed have the virus, then you're good to go.

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

I have absolutely no experience with, or know of any donors who have had this issue. I don't know enough about it to feel comfortable giving any advise, but I did find this site. You may find some useful information here. Good luck!

AliConner 2 years ago

How is it that you can donate so much plasma and not get sick? It seems like you would die?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Because a healthy body is able to regenerate plasma much faster than blood, plasma donation is safe to do 2 times per week, whereas blood donation can only be done once every 8 weeks.

NhiCap 2 years ago

I donated plasma for the first time last week. They said my plasma looked like a strawberry milkshake and it was not good plasma. They also told me that I could continue donating. Why are they letting me donate if my plasma is bad?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

The color and consistency of your plasma will vary greatly depending on your diet. Eating fatty foods will make your plasma thicker and cloudy (milky). The pink tint may be diet related, or it could be the result of a few broken red blood cells.

Make sure you drink plenty of water and cut out the fatty foods before your donation day; most fast foods fall into this category. Your plasma should clear up. I was told that the most desirable plasma looks like white wine or champagne.

ToddSteven 2 years ago

I donated today for the very first time! They messed up my arm very bad. It feels as if it fell off and is still falling off. Why did this happen? Can I sue the plasma center for the pain and suffering they caused me? They said everything went fine but they are full of crap!!!

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Discomfort and even pain when starting plasma donation is common. When I first started donating, it would sometimes take days for my arm to feel normal again. Remember, they're sticking a large gauge needle in your arm and leaving it there for an extended period of time. I can tell you, from 5 years of donation experience, that it does get better.

As far as suing the donation center goes, I'm no lawyer, nor do I claim to be, but I don't think you'd really have much luck winning this case. I say this, not because you're dealing with a large company, but because before you can donate you must sign paperwork stating that you understand all of the possible side effects that come along with your donation... including, but not limited to, pain at the injection site.

Terrance 2 years ago

Ok i want to donate but i messed up mybapplication and now i need doctors notes and i have no money for that how long does it last before i can change it or can it evn be changed!?

La-a (pronounced ladasha) 2 years ago

I got a tattoo last week. I've heard you have to wait to donate after getting a tattoo, but how long is it? I need the money right now so I don't know if it is worth telling them.

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

If all you need is a letter from your doctor explaining a past condition, you should be able to contact your doctor's office and they will do it free of charge. As for changing the information on your application, if it's a change to eliminate a medical condition they may catch it, and you could be banned from donation.

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

There is a one year waiting period after getting a new tattoo. They will check all tattoo and piercing sites during your initial and yearly physical. If your tattoo is fairly new, they may be able to tell. If you don't let them know you have a new tattoo, and they later discover this information, you risk getting banned from any future donations.

tony 2 years ago

you said you your vein was blown once. Does it grow back or heal or do you have to use your other arm? If it doesn't grow back or heal does that mean if you blow the other one then you're done donating plasma?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author


Yes, I did have a vein in my right arm blow. It does heal and you'll be able to donate with that arm again. Mine took about 3 weeks. They waited until all of the bruising was gone before they'd let me use that arm again. Until then, I just used my left arm for each donation. If you happen to blow a vein in both arms, before one has time to heal, you will not be able to donate until at least one of them has healed. This was the protocol for the center where I donated, others may be different.

Rachelle Draper. 2 years ago

I know this isn't really related to plasma donation, but is garlic really good for your heart? That's what other donors were talking about when i was donating.

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Garlic is awesome, and yes, it is good for your heart health.

Here's a great article with some more information for you...

Nikkie 2 years ago

I went to donate and they said my veins wasn't good enough what do I need to do

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

I don't know what the reasoning for them declaring your veins as "bad", but I know that during my time donating I had several of the phlebotomists comment on my veins "rolling" while they did my stick. If this is the issue, ask to have someone else take a look at your arm, trust me, some people are just better with this than others.

Being dehydrated will also "deflate" your veins. Make sure to drink plenty of water to help plump them up.

Other than that, you might be better off asking them what it is exactly that makes your veins too difficult for donation.

Nikkie 2 years ago

I went to donate and the donation center said my veins were not good enough for donating plasma. What do I need to do to make my veins larger?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Hydration is key in helping your veins "plump up". Drink lots of water, starting several days before going back in.

Nick 2 years ago

I'd like to take the time to say thanks for being so informative and caring enough to take the time to do this. If no one else says it thank you

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, Nick. That means a lot.

Denise 2 years ago

Hello I've donated plasma before. Had a miscarriage (D&C) 3 weeks ago. Is it safe to donate this soon?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author


I am so sorry for your loss. After having my surgery, I was told that I could go back to donating after I was no longer taking any of the prescribed medications. This includes any antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and pain killers. You may want to double check with them, as each donation center has slightly different guidelines.

Thomas 2 years ago

Camarochix, thanks for answering all of these questions! My wife and I just moved to an area with a Biolife center and I have been donating for a little over two months. So far, it's been a great experience.

I've been having a few issues though - nothing major. My donations average about 40 minutes or so. However, several times during each donation, the draw will suddenly stop for several seconds, than slowly pick up again. Rarely (once every other donation or so) I will feel a sharp pain in my upper arm and armpit region along with the sudden stop of the draw.

My donation times are quick, so any interference with my donation speed is minimal. From your knowledge, is this something I should be concerned about?

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camarochix72 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Thomas,

It sounds like the rate of collection by the machine itself needs to be adjusted. I had a similar issue several times, mine was sharp pain that started in the elbow and radiated to the shoulder. Once they adjusted the collection rate, it went away.

Always let them know when you're in pain. At first, I was hesitant, but it's really not worth sitting there for any length of time in unnecessary pain.

Anthony 24 months ago

Today I donated and wasn't really paying attention they unhooked me before my blood was returned for the sake of him not getting in trouble for doing so we didn't say anything but in actuality I was supposed to be deferred for 56 days if I donate next week could that cause health issues for me in other words can something happen?

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camarochix72 24 months ago from USA Author


Because you did not receive your blood at the end of your donation, deferral is critical. It takes your body a lot longer to regenerate red blood cells than it does plasma. The lack if red blood cells, that carry oxygen through your body, can pose a host of issues if you try to donate before the time required. Also, you risk a permanent defferal from, not just that donation location, but all other locations as well.

Sophie 23 months ago

I've been deferred for 8 weeks at my usual plasma place because of a machine malfunction. A little of my blood got into the plasma collection container before the return cycle. They even said it wasn't my fault, but I was still deferred. Can I donate plasma for a different company? Thanks!

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camarochix72 23 months ago from USA Author


Unfortunately, no. Because of the loss of blood, even though minimal, the deferral is in your best interest. If you do try to donate at another facility, and they find out you are currently deffered, you risk permanent deferral from both and will not be able to donate at all.

Fran 22 months ago

I have donated plasma for three months now. But, the last three times I have had an issue with the return having to much pressure and the machine stops. Why does this happen? Is there anything I can do to prevent it?

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camarochix72 22 months ago from USA Author


Most of the time, in my experience, the return speed is set too high on the machine itself. This can be an issue after some scar tissue builds up around the puncture site on your arm.

Judy 21 months ago

I've been donating plasma for 5 months and suddenly my protein level is too low. I've increased the protein in my diet for the past couple of days. How long does it take to increase the level of protein? Is it too early to be tested again? If I eat high protein for 48 hrs is that enough time?

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camarochix72 21 months ago from USA Author


I never had an issue with my protein while I donated, however, I did have a problem with my hematocrit (iron) levels. I could easily raise my levels enough the day before a donation by eating the right foods. However, I can not say for sure that your protein levels will be as cooperative, but it's always worth a shot. And don't worry about having low numbers two days in a row. It happens more than you'd think.

One thing to know though, is that your body needs a little extra help with the absorption of protein. Try drinking an acidic drink, like orange juice, with your meal, or eating some fruit. You can also add a B-6 vitamin to your daily routine to help with your protein absorption too.

Hope this helps! Good luck.

Desirae 21 months ago

I donated yesterday and it started out horrible. Usually, it takes me a little longer to donate. I average around 70 ml per cycle and I usually donate 690 ml. Yesterday, when I looked at the machine it said 825mL and I am nowhere near the weight cut off for this amount...I have a difficult time enough getting the 690. Usually by the end of the experience my machine starts beeping and I have to pump like mad to get my rate back up. ....yesterday the phlebotomist picked the smallest vein in my arm she could find I swear. I had pain almost the entire time and I had weird pains up in my armpit/shoulder area. The machine started beeping that my return pressure was high. She started poking around at my arm and took the needle out. It was very painful at the sight. She called someone else, and the RN over and they argued over what to do. She told the nurse i had been over 3 mins. The nurse insisted that it was fine that they stick my other arm and I could finish.

Does this sound normal? My arm is in a ton of pain and it swollen and hard. They handed me a paper about "hematoma" and sent me on my way. What does this mean?

sarah 21 months ago

I've donated plasma about 9 times now and the last few times i've felt a tightness in my chest after donating like my heart is straining or something. It goes away after a day or two so i don't think it's a major problem but have you heard of this happening before? Im 18 and make sure to hydrate

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camarochix72 21 months ago from USA Author


I wouldn't call your experience "normal", however, it's not unheard of. I was able to donate a very similar amount as you in 32 minutes on average, start to finish. On occasion, it would take over an hour because of issues similar to what you describe. I've had donations where both arms are used to finish the donation process, also.

I've learned that a lot of the time, if there is pain during the donation, other than the initial stick, either the needle is resting against the wall of the vein, or the machine return needs to be adjusted.

Giving you information on the hematoma is pretty standard. I treated mine with "RICE" (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for a few days, then I used a warm pack to help with any bruising.

Remember, you have every right to stop your donation at any time. If you're feeling pain or are just uncomfortable with the situation you're in, don't be afraid to speak up.

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camarochix72 21 months ago from USA Author


If the pain is radiating up the arm during your return, it could be the return rate is too high or low on the machine, and will subside when the collection cycle starts. However, because it radiates up into your chest, and lasts longer than your donation period, I would talk with the center's RN before your next donation.

Goldie 20 months ago

When i donate plasma the first one goes ok but the second one my protein level is to low what is going on and what do i need to do so they are not low

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camarochix72 20 months ago from USA Author


I had a similar issue with my hematocrit (iron) levels on my second donation. I've found that the second day is a little more difficult to keep levels high enough because of the natural depletion from your first donation. One of the easiest ways I kept my protein and iron levels high enough was either by eating lean red meats (beef, or in my case elk), beans (like a bowl of chili), or a protein bar (Snickers was my favorite because it also had the additional iron I needed) for lunch or dinner the day before my donation. It would also be helpful to include a vitamin B-6 supplement to your daily routine to help your body absorb the protein.

I've tried strictly going the supplements route, but found out the hard way that actually eating these foods, made the most difference.

I hope this works for you!

chris 19 months ago

Donated my first two times last week. First one went fine. Second one they said my vein was intruded or something right after being stuck so they went to my other arm. Had flow issues that they couldn't figure out and before i made it to my first return cycle they said they were ending me and returning my cells and sending me on my way. I was unable to get any info out of anybody before ibleft as to what that meant in concerns to future donations. What would that mean? I barely made a fourth of my total donation before they sent me on.

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camarochix72 19 months ago from USA Author


Vein occlusion is a narrowing or blocking of the vein. If you weren't "permanently deferred", you should be able to donate again. I know donors who had to use one arm for both donations each week because of similar issues. If you are not sure about your status with the donation center, give them a quick call before heading out for your next donation.

Here's a little more information about vein occlusion for you:

Rhianna McClaren 16 months ago

Why don't the plasma donation centers themselves offer the same wealth of information that you have provided on your "Tips and Tricks" page and your "Hematocrit and Protein" page when donors first sign up with a center? They could eliminate at least 50% of the deferrals that occur and also eliminate a huge percentage of the frustration that donors experience if they would just educate us the way you have.

I have been donating for almost 6 months now and have experienced most of the issues covered on your page, but have never been able to get clear or even consistent information out of the staff at my center. Every time I have been deferred for protein the staff just tells me to eat a good diet, and when I get deferred for hematocrit they tell me to keep hydrated. It's like they don't even understand the dynamics of the process themselves. No one until you has ever mentioned iron or vitamin C as being factors let alone offered advice for how to increase my levels.

I really appreciate all your effort to educate us donors, but I wish someone would educate the centers and their staff that they could eliminate a lot of problems by just passing out this type of information to all new donors because it's actually true that when people know better, they do better.

Thanks again for all your efforts. You are a blessing!

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camarochix72 16 months ago from USA Author

Thanks so much, Rhianna!

jeff 14 months ago

my problem lately has been high hematocrit levels.... I've read everything on line. I don't drink alcohol so that's not the problem, I do however drink an excess of diet pepsi, I don't drink any the day before or the day of my donation. I've followed the diet advise I've read. I do smoke but just like the soda, I don't the night before of the day of my donation.... I probably drink at least 20 oz. cups of water before my donation, is too much water bad? And like what was said earlier, it would be nice if the plasma centers would take the time to inform us on what we should be doing, I've read everything you have said to people and it all sounds like good advise.... thank you

Deeliteful2 13 months ago

I have been donating since mid July of this yr. Deferred once for low protein, hadn't really eaten much the night before, or day of, so ok. No problems since, really.

My friend that introduced me to this just had a 6 month check, and her protein was 5.7 on a needle draw. The one they send away to check. Her finger stick that day was good tho. Why is this? She has to have another check done and could take cpl weeks for results?? We also go to Biolife.

TY in advance for info

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camarochix72 13 months ago from USA Author

Hi Jeff. If your hematocrit (iron) level fluctuates from acceptable levels to being too high, it could be from several of the things you've listed, and when you combine them, it's going to really add up. Being dehydrated can cause a lot of issues with your donation, and showing your hematocrit as being too high is one of them. If you're drinking your Diet Pepsi (or any soda), it dehydrates your body throughout the day, so although you drink some water before your donation, it's not nearly enough to make up for what you've lost due to the Diet Pepsi. People who smoke regularly are also at risk of having high hematocrit levels. As for the amount of water you're drinking; the more, the better. A rule of thumb (that I learned from my Dr when I was pregnant), "if you must drink a soda, make sure you drink the same amount of water in the same day".

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camarochix72 13 months ago from USA Author

Hi Deliteful2. Although the finger stick is the faster (and most cost effective) method of collecting your blood sample, the most accurate measure of your hematocrit and protein levels will always be from blood drawn from the arm. Having results that don't quite match up, isn't all that uncommon. I've had that happen as well. Women are also more prone to having lower numbers for both, depending on where they are within their "cycle". The best way I had of bringing up my numbers was a Snickers Protein bar and a cran/apple juice with 110% vitamin C. This combo is loaded with both protein and iron, with necessary vitamin C to help with the absorption of both. This combo for lunch or dinner the night before my donation always did the trick.

Good luck to your friend!

sherry elder 13 months ago

I ate at a quick fast-food place before i donated because i was stupid and in a hurry. Half way through my cycle i stated to get symptoms of food poisoning. I had high pressure on my machine and it took forever to finish in addition. I drank my poweraid and went home. After i got home i vommited everything i are before i donated and the poweraid. Now i feel like a truck hit me and my opposite arm by my shoulder feels like its knotted and in so much pain.

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camarochix72 13 months ago from USA Author


If your blood pressure went up and you're having pains, it could be more than just food poisoning. I'm not a doctor, but I would recommend seeing one if the symptoms get any worse.

Ian R. 12 months ago

Purple is my favorite color. And because I wear it a lot, people at the plasma center judge me and tell me I can't donate because I'm gay. THAT JUST DOESN'T SEEM RIGHT TO ME! What do you think?

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camarochix72 11 months ago from USA Author

Sounds like an issue that needs to be brought up to the center's management.

Maya Robbins 11 months ago

I just went in to the center tonight and they told me I have been diagnosed with RPR. Then they said its not an actual diagnosis but I still cant donate. What is RPR and if its that big of a deal why have they let me donate for 4 months?

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camarochix72 11 months ago from USA Author


Here's a web site that may help answer some of your questions about the RPR test.

Most centers will do a variety of additional tests on the samples they collect, but it's random. Yours just hadn't been drawn for that particular test until now.

chris 9 months ago

Hi I was wondering when u donate I seem to have smaller draws but I look at everyone else and there draws are much bigger how do I make my draws for each cycle bigger

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camarochix72 9 months ago from USA Author


The amount of plasma that can be extracted in each cycle greatly depends on how hydrated you are. The more you stay hydrated (on a day to day basis, not just donation days), the more plasma you can have extracted during each cycle.

Michel Gagnon 7 months ago

I have been giving plasma 8 times in the past 8 weeks. My left arm works

A-1...however the three times we tried my right arm the procdure has to be stopped. The outtake is greeat at 120. But during the beginning of the first return the flow in has to be turn down, down, down. We manage to finish that first pass...but only collect 250ml. Question: how come the vein does not like the return? 1. vein is not straight in the arm? 2. vein is squeezed by the muscle? 3. needle is too close to ''shut off'' valve in the vein? Please help.

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camarochix72 6 months ago from USA Author


Having one arm that performs better than the other is quite common. The structure of the veins can vary; thin walls, deeper into the arm or even smaller. During the time I had to let me right arm heal due to a blown vein, I was able to use my left arm for both donations each week. If you want to continue to donate, just use the arm you know will work the best.

Ronald Abersold 5 months ago

I've been donating plasma for 2 years, and they say they use it for medications. Then I realized that I have a plasma screen TV. Is that what they use the leftover plasma for? Or do they have separate plasma donation center for TV's? Do they pay more?

Sonny Sanchez 2 months ago

I donated for my first time last week and they said that drinking caffeine around the time of your donation is bad. Why?

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camarochix72 2 months ago from USA Author


Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it causes the body to flush out fluids and dehydrate faster than normal. Drinking caffeinated beverages; coffee/soda/tea, before your donation will cause your plasma to be thicker because of this lack of fluid, and therefore, making your donation take longer, and in some cases, more painful. I have even seen someone who had to be disconnected from the machine because their plasma was so thick, it actually clogged the tubes.

Linda 3 weeks ago

I was just told I would be deferred for not realizing that a dr taking a small piece of my lip off for a byopsy was considered a procedure. When asked how long I would be deferred she said disn't know. I don't think this is fare! I've only been donatig about 8 or 9 months. Why would that be a procedure that would harm my plasma?! Does that mean a root canal I almost just had, but didn't because dentist ran out of time would be considereal a procedure and hence another deferral?!

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camarochix72 3 weeks ago from USA Author


From my experience, the procedure itself is not the issue. The fact that you needed to have a biopsy tells them that there is a possibility, even if only a slight one, that some other medical issue may be present. Once your results are back, and the doctor has cleared you (usually the donation center will request a letter from the doctor stating that your health is fine), then you should be able to resume your donating.

Ethel1974 3 days ago

Hi and thank you for this page. I found it via Google search.

For 2 years I donated plasma consistently. My second or third donation during that time the phlebotomist blew my vein in my left arm. From then on I constantly have used my right arm. As you can imagine I have very bad scar tissue. I have been back to donating for almost a year now with a break of just over a year. For the second time I used my left arm and it takes forever. In my right arm I am usually at 25 - 40 minutes. In my left arm I am an hour and a half. It kills me to sit that long. Can anyone tell me why it takes so much longer in my left arm?

Thank you in advance.

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camarochix72 2 days ago from USA Author


I also started having issues with slower donation time in one arm after they blew a vein. I was told by the phlebotomist that it was because of the scar tissue from donating on a regular basis and blowing the vein. I finally just started donating with the good arm every time. As long as there was no bruising from the previous donation, it was allowed.

I hope they will let you do the same, I know how long and frustrating a slow donation can be.

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