Blood and Plasma – What are the Differences for Donors?
The average person has few means at his or her disposal to save lives. Blood and plasma, however, are life-saving substances everyone has and thus there is big incentive for the health care industry to encourage donations on a regular basis. There’s big incentive for individuals too, for who knows when we or a loved one will be on the receiving end of the donation?
It may seem like a simple matter of one or the other when deciding whether to donate blood or plasma, but there are numerous differences between the two. These factors will likely play a role in a decision regarding which is best for the donor.
Widget not in any sidebars
Here are the distinctions (and the similarities) between giving plasma and blood:
Plasma is basically the fluid which carries the critical components of blood to where they need to be throughout the body. In this regard, it has a far broader application in health care than blood proper. The antibodies, hormones, and proteins found in plasma can be extracted and utilized in hundreds of medicines and treatments, while its base nature helps to encourage blood creation rather than subsidize a lack of blood.
The AB blood type is the most highly sought in the world of plasma. Folks with type AB blood are universal donors – their plasma can be used to treat anyone. However type AB is only present in roughly four percent of the population. This means there is a never-ending high demand for AB blood plasma.
The most distinct aspect of plasma donation to most people is the ability to earn money. Indeed most cities and towns across the country have plasma centers where men and women can donate.
Plasma can be donated up to twice a week. There is a 48 hour minimum required wait between donation sessions.
Blood, unlike plasma, has a limited number of uses in the medical industry, albeit critical ones. The most immediate way in which donated blood saves lives is when it’s deployed to help a victim of traumatic physical injury where a large volume of blood has been lost.
Those with an O-negative blood type are deemed universal donors. This type of blood can be given to anyone without fears of dangerous reaction. Those with the AB blood type are considered universal blood recipients.
Similar to plasma donations, the common side-effects of donating blood are light headedness and fatigue. It’s important to drink plenty of water and eat as soon as possible after donating blood.
During the early years of HIV/AIDS there was a severe crackdown on the business of “blood banks” offering cash for blood. As a result, it remains against the law for anyone to offer monetary reward for donating blood or to receive money for a donation.
Blood donors must wait a minimum of 56 days – or eight weeks – between sessions. This is due to the importance of having a high blood cell count prior to donation.
Most of us walk around with the power to help save lives, yet few of us take action. Blood and plasma donation on a regular basis gives everyone the ability to become a superhero every once in awhile.