Platelet Donation

Claire_Lovely

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Hello everyone, today I donated platelets again. My goal is to reach the maximum of 24 times in one year.





Platelet donations usually take about 2 hours, this time my platelet count was a bit lower so I think I was there for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Platelets can be donated every week, more often than a whole blood donation which you have to wait 8 weeks before you can donate again. I learned that platelets are generally more in need and the increased donation frequency lets me be able to help multiple times in a shorter period, so since 2021 I have been mostly focused on doing platelet donations. The American Red Cross has some more info on what platelets are used for:

https://www.redcross...for-cancer.html

Platelets are essentially these small circular discs within the blood that help to form clots so that bleeding can be stopped and that wounds can heal.



Platelet machines work by separating the blood into components through a process called apheresis. Basically certain components are more dense than others and when spun they can be separated based on this principle.

The machine here is where the blood goes into to be separated into its components:



Inside these the blood is spun around, and then the platelets are collected and the red blood cells and other components of blood are returned to the donor. This sometimes requires two needles, one for each arm, but some newer machines like these utilize one needle. In the case of one needle, the blood is drawn, spun in the centrifuge, and then returned to the donor in cycles. A small amount of citrate is returned to the body because the machine uses this as an anticoagulant to prevent the donated platelets from clotting, as a result donors are provided a calcium tablet to take to prevent the citrate from leaching calcium from the body.

After a donation, it's important to restore calcium and iron levels. I had tofu, broccoli, red peppers, and tomatoes, foods that are high in these and that can help the restoration process.



Donating platelets is something very beneficial to others and something that can save many lives. It's estimated that a pint of whole blood can save 1 - 3 lives and with platelets this number must be much higher due to the demand. You can often receive bonuses for donating, unfortunately you can't receive cash for whole blood or platelet donation, but at this center I usually get 2 Amazon gift cards which add up to 20 USD total. Today I got 3 that added up to 30 USD total.

Furthermore it's just exciting to see such a large needle enter the body, it makes me both feel tense and excited, and it's very fun when female nurses do the injections. Afterwards you can go home and have a relaxing naptime and eat good food, and feel closer to humanity, strengthening the connections we have with each other.

 
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