What are Platelets ?
Platelets are an important component of blood because they are a critical part of the clotting process. They prevent or stop bleeding and are life-saving therapy for patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment, leukemia, bone marrow transplants, organ transplants and open heart surgery. Children undergoing therapy for cancer and leukemia often need platelets. Due to recent advances in the treatment of these illnesses, the demand for platelets is growing dramatically.
Who can Donate Platelets ?
Almost anyone can be a platelet donor. The qualifications are the same as for whole blood donations. Through a process call apheresis (pronounced ay-Fuh-REE-sis) or plateletpheresis, which is a technique of selectively withdrawing a single component of blood, you can donate platelets, Since platelets only have a shelf life of five days, the hospital demand for them is constant. That's why we depend on our platelet apheresis heroes.
Why cant a large amount of platelets be collected during a regular blood donation ?
Platelet donation allows the collection of a large quantity of platelets from a single donor. The specialized technology separates and collects just the platelets and returns the red cells and plasma to the donor. To equal the quantity of one platelet donation, we would have to combine or "pool" the platelets from six different whole blood donations from six different donors.
How is a platelet donation different from a whole blood donation ?
Can i continue donating whole blood and be a Platelet Donor ?
- Platelets are not collected at Blood Drives.
- Donating platelets is a very safe procedure. Sterile , single use collection kits and needles are used once, just for you and then discarded.
- You can donate platelets 24 times a year compared to 4 times in a year for whole blood.
- Because it takes more time to separate and collect the platelets from the other components in your blood, the donation takes approximately 90 minutes. The entire process , including paperwork and health history, usually takes about 2 hours.
- Platelet Donors can not have taken any aspirin or aspirin products for 48 hours before their donation.
- You feel no different from donating blood, and are instructed to return to your normal (not strenuous) activities. Dizziness and fainting are very uncommon with platelet donors.
YES ! We have several donors that donate both whole blood and platelets. Due to the difference in donation frequency guidelines, donor can arrange to fit both types of donations in their schedule.
Whats needed more - Whole Blood or Platelets ?
BOTH !! . There is an equal need for blood and platelets. However since there are fewer locations for platelet donations, there is a small donor base and a stronger need to recruit new donors.
Did you know ?
- Platelets have a shelf life of only 5 days , so there is a constant need for platelet donors.
- Whole Blood Donors are eligible every 90- days or about 4 donations a year ; platelet donors can donate up to 24 times a year.
- Donors can donate platelets within 3 days of a whole blood donation
- Your Body replaces your platelets in about 24 hours.
How often can I donate Platelets ?
Up to 24 times a year ! Due to the flexibility of platelet donation, many donors create their own schedules. We have some donors that donate twice a month, once a month, once a year or whenever they can. And every donation is appreciated !!! There is a tremendous need for platelet donors.