Am I Eligible to Donate?
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World Blood Donor Day
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Who can donate platelets?
You can become a platelet donor if you are generally in good health and aged between 18 and 65. Before every platelets donation, you need to give a small sample of blood to determine if you have a high enough platelet count.
The process of platelets donation:
During a platelet donation, a small portion of your blood is drawn from your arm and passed through a cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you. After the donation you can resume your normal activities, avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous exercise that day.
Why platelets transfusions are given?
Sometimes the number of platelets in the blood is lower than normal. This may be because of illness (including cancer, leukemia or certain blood disorders) or it can be a side effect of chemotherapy treatment. If the bone marrow is not working normally, the number of platelets in the blood (known as the 'platelet count') may drop. How low the number of platelets gets depends on how much the illness or the chemotherapy has affected the cells in the bone marrow.
The normal platelet count is between 150,000 and 400,000. A slightly lower platelet count will not usually cause any problems, since there are plenty to spare. A very low platelet count, however, can sometimes be serious. Signs of a low platelet count include nosebleeds, bleeding gums, heavy periods, bruising and tiny blood spots in the skin, or rashes. Very rarely, more serious bleeding (for example, into the brain or the digestive system) can occur.
In hospitals, platelet transfusions are often used to prevent the platelet count from going too low. Therefore serious bleeding due to low platelets is now very rare. The platelet transfusion will reduce the risk of any bleeding during or after any procedure.
Should You Be a Platelet Donor?
A single platelet donation can provide enough platelets for a full therapeutic dose for a patient in need. In fact, some platelet donations yield enough platelets for two or three therapeutic doses. By contrast, it takes about five whole blood donations to produce a single therapeutic dose. Many patients who need platelets are undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplant and have weakened immune systems. A platelet dose from a single donor reduces the patient's exposure to multiple donors and is therefore preferred by many physicians.
- Will Aspirin affect my Platelet Donation?
The chemical composition of aspirin impairs the ability of platelets, a component of blood that helps to prevent bleeding, to function properly. Platelet donors must refrain from donating for five days if they have taken any products containing aspirin.
- Will aspirin affect my Blood Donation?
Blood donors can donate after taking aspirin and preparations containing aspirin, as long as they are well. But it's important that the medical staff is informed if the donor has taken aspirin, so that the platelets from the blood donation are not used.
- Should I stop taking Aspirin so I can Donate Platelets?
We recommend you consult your GP before stopping or starting any medication.
- Donors should not take any aspirin or products containing aspirin 48 hours before donation
- You can donate up to 24 times per year.
- The donation takes approximately 40 to 100 minutes.
- A platelet donation is also called a 'platelet aphaeresis' or 'platelet pheresis' donation.
- If you are a platelet donor, you can still make regular whole blood donations. Both gifts are vitally important to patients with life threatening diseases.