If you've recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection, then you may be able to help others with a blood plasma donation. The FDA has approved the use of COVID-19 plasma to potentially slow down or lessen severe symptoms of the disease. Here are some questions and answers about what COVID-19 plasma does and how you can help.
What Is COVID-19 Plasma?
COVID-19 plasma is a type of convalescent plasma with antibodies against the disease. Plasma is simply said to be the liquid part of whole blood that supports the other blood cells. Most blood plasma is water, but the rest of it contains important proteins and nutrients. You can donate plasma by itself, or donate whole blood where the plasma is then separated and used later.
Who Needs COVID-19 Plasma?
COVID-19 plasma is generally used with the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients. As of mid-2020, this plasma has been shown to potentially reduce the need for a ventilator and may shorten the duration of the disease. However, research is still ongoing, and this could result in more effective uses for the plasma in the future. To do this, as much blood plasma as possible needs to be collected.
What Are The Risks To Donors?
For qualified donors, the risks of donating plasma aren't much different from blood donation in general. However, there are some mild side effects. For example, because plasma contains a lot of water, you may feel dehydrated after donating. One way to remedy this is by drinking plenty of water before and after donating the plasma. Also, make sure you eat plenty of healthy iron and protein-rich foods within 3 hours of your donation.
Who Can Donate COVID-19 Plasma?
Plasma donor requirements are similar to blood donor requirements in terms of age, weight, and health. However, with COVID-19 plasma, you should also have received a positive COVID-19 virus and antibody test. Donation centers vary in how long you have to wait after testing positive or experience symptoms. The general rule is about 28 days after your positive virus test or last symptoms. Some centers may let you donate after 14 days if you've had a subsequent negative virus test.
Donating plasma is safe and easy for most people. Your COVID-19 plasma donation will go to good use, especially if you are of certain blood types. The plasma may also be helpful with other diseases as well. If you would like to know more about making a COVID-19 plasma donation or wonder if you are eligible, then contact a plasma donation center for more information.