Tips for donors

The impact of exercise on plasma donation: a donor’s guide

Tips for donors

The impact of exercise on plasma donation: a donor’s guide

July 3, 2024

Have you ever wondered how your gym routine might affect your plasma donation sessions? For both seasoned donors and newcomers, maintaining a balance between staying active and ensuring safe plasma donations is crucial. 

In this guide, we delve into the importance of exercise and how it impacts your body before, during, and after donating plasma. From preparing for a donation with the right workout to understanding the best post-donation exercises, we aim to help you enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle while being a committed plasma donor.

The role of exercise before donating

Maintaining your regular exercise routine in the days leading up to a plasma donation can be beneficial for your health. When you exercise, you are not just staying active but also boosting your blood flow, which plays a key role in maintaining your plasma volume and overall health. 

This increase in blood flow acts like a refreshing wave, carrying nutrients and oxygen vital for optimal body function. Think of it as giving your body extra love and care before donating. 

For endurance athletes, maintaining a healthy iron balance is also important, as iron deficiency can impact red blood cells and hemoglobin levels, which are essential for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Regular intensive exercise, including running and weight training, can lower iron concentrations in the blood. To maintain healthy iron levels, consider including more iron-rich foods in your diet, consuming vitamin C-rich foods, and staying hydrated.

women doing exercises

The ideal pre-donation exercise routine

When it comes to exercising before donating plasma, it is all about finding the right balance and choosing activities that will help you feel your best. Low-impact exercises like walking, cycling, or swimming are the perfect way to keep your body moving without causing unnecessary strain or fatigue.

These activities are not only enjoyable but also help maintain your plasma volume and prepare your body for the donation process. By keeping your heart rate elevated and your blood pressure stable, you ensure your body is in optimal condition for donating. And because low-impact exercises are gentle and easy on the body, you will not feel overly tired or stressed out.

Exercise on donation day

On the day you are donating plasma, it is recommended that you keep your activities light and stay hydrated throughout the day. 

Hydration is vital to a successful donation, so make it a priority to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. By staying hydrated, you are helping your body function at its best and preparing yourself for the donation process ahead.

When exercising on donation day, avoiding high-intensity workouts that can temporarily affect your heart rate, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels is best. Instead, opt for gentle activities like stretching in the morning, practicing yoga, or taking a leisurely walk, setting the tone for a positive and stress-free donation experience.

Post-donation care and exercise

After donating plasma, taking care of yourself and giving your body the time it needs to recover is essential. Resting before and after plasma donation is crucial; avoid strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours to allow your body to replenish the fluids and components lost during donation.

Instead, opt for a leisurely walk or gentle stretching to aid your recovery without causing any side effects. By engaging in light activities, you are giving your body the chance to recover without putting undue stress on it. These activities help maintain a constant blood pressure, prevent stiffness, and support your overall recovery process. 

Last but not least, remember that a good night’s sleep is important to your overall well-being since it allows your body to recover and rejuvenate. Proper rest helps replenish your energy levels, supports your immune system, and aids in the recovery of muscles and tissues.

Signs to monitor after exercising

After exercising post-donation, it is essential to pay attention to how your body feels and watch out for any signs indicating you need to take it easy. 

Keep an eye out for sensations like:

  • dizziness or a slight lightheadedness;
  • unusual tiredness;
  • feeling a bit dehydrated or abnormally thirsty.

If you notice any of these symptoms lasting for an extended period or worsening, consider contacting your center or doctor to ensure you are recovering well.

When to safely return to normal exercise routine

After donating plasma, you can gradually ease back into your regular exercise routine. For most people, this means resuming their regular workouts within 24–48 hours, depending on their overall health and the intensity of their usual activities. 

If you notice any discomfort, fatigue, or other signs that your body might need more time to recover, do not hesitate to scale back or take a break. Remember, you should always listen to your body and take things at your own pace.

In conclusion, understanding the impact of exercise on plasma donation is essential to ensure a safe and effective donation experience. By following these guidelines, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and continue to make a difference in the lives of those in need.

FAQs

Do you still have doubts about plasma donation? Our FAQs section will hopefully clear them up. Remember that our medical team and staff is always there to answer all your question in person.

Tips for donors

Preparing your body for plasma donation: a comprehensive checklist

Tips for donors

Preparing your body for plasma donation: a comprehensive checklist

How can you best prepare for plasma donation? Here are a few simple rules to enhance your donation experience!

Plasma donation is a completely safe procedure. To make your experience even more efficient and comfortable, consider the following tips about nutrition, hydration, exercise, and rest to help prepare your body.

Woman holding a checklist

1. Essential nutritional tips for plasma donors

Eating well is crucial, not just on the day of the donation, but also in the days leading up to it. A well-balanced diet helps prepare your body for donation and supports quick recovery afterward. Consider integrating the following ingredients into your meals:

  • eat iron-rich foods, such as eggs, pulses, nuts, whole grains, iron-fortified cereals, and vegetables like spinach, arugula, cabbage, and kale
  • eat protein-rich foods, including fish, poultry, pulses, and milk.

Foods that are rich in protein and iron support plasma regeneration after every donation, making your recovery easier.

What you eat can affect the quality of your plasma, so it is best to avoid:

  • highly processed food, such as ready-made meals, savory and sweet snacks, and meat products like ham and sausage
  • food high in fat, for example, fries or fast food meals

In conclusion, a well-balanced and healthy diet will make you feel good before, during, and after your donation.

2. The importance of hydration before donating plasma

Since plasma is primarily composed of water (around 92%), proper hydration is key. Drinking enough water before and on the donation day will speed up the donation process and help you recover faster. Aim to drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water in the days leading up to your donation, including the donation day itself. Great sources of hydration are water, sugarless herbal teas, or homemade soups.

3. Recommended exercises for plasma donors

Regular, moderate exercise is beneficial for your overall health and helps ensure you are in good shape for donating plasma. However, avoid strenuous activities a few days before and on the donation day to ensure you are well-rested and healthy for your donation.  For a quick and smooth recovery, start off with light activities, such as walking, stretching, or yoga, before returning to your regular exercise routine.

4. Maximizing recovery: the impact of sleep on plasma donation

Get a good night’s sleep to help your body recover faster and manage the stress of the plasma donation. Arriving at the donation center rested and relaxed will help enhance your plasma donation experience.

A good night’s sleep also improves your blood pressure, which the donation center staff will check before the donation procedure.

5. What to Know About Medications Before Donating Plasma

Medical staff will check your health parameters on the day of your plasma donation and ask if you take any medication or supplements. Medications such as blood thinners can impact the quality of your plasma or temporarily disqualify you from donating. If in doubt, check with your healthcare provider to ensure you are clear to donate. 

6. Day-of Donation Tips

Here is a quick checklist to help you prepare for the day of your donation:

  • Unlike a blood test, you should eat a light, healthy, and nutritious meal before donating plasma.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before donation.
  • Wear loose clothes with wide sleeves that you can roll up easily to be more comfortable during the procedure. 
  • Remember your ID: the staff will ask you for it when you arrive
  • Choose relaxing activities after the donation to avoid side effects and recover smoothly.

And remember, plasma replenishes within 24–48 hours, making it possible to donate frequently, but no more than once in a 48-hour period, to continue helping people in need of plasma-derived therapies!

FAQs

Do you still have doubts about plasma donation? Our FAQs section will hopefully clear them up. Remember that our medical team and staff is always there to answer all your question in person.
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Tips for donors

What to eat before donating plasma

Tips for donors

What to eat before donating plasma

April 26, 2024

Congratulations, you’re on the road to donating plasma! Donating plasma is a noble act that can save lives, but it’s essential to prepare your body adequately for the donation process. Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in ensuring a safe and comfortable plasma donation experience. In this guide, we’ll cover what to eat for breakfast before donating plasma, what not to eat, and what to eat in general before your plasma donation appointment.

What to eat for breakfast before donating plasma

Congratulations, you’re on the road to donating plasma! Donating plasma is a noble act that can save lives, but it’s essential to prepare your body adequately for the donation process. Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in ensuring a safe and comfortable plasma donation experience. In this guide, we’ll cover what to eat for breakfast before donating plasma, what not to eat, and what to eat in general before your plasma donation appointment.

What to eat for breakfast before donating plasma

As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This adage is even truer when it comes to donating plasma! A nutritious breakfast can help stabilize your blood sugar levels, keep you energized, and minimize the risk of complications during plasma donation. Here are some breakfast options to consider:

1. Whole grains: Whole grain toast or oatmeal are excellent choices. They provide sustained energy and fiber to keep you feeling full.

2. Protein: Include lean sources of protein such as eggs, yogurt, or peanut butter. Protein helps maintain muscle strength and overall health.

 

 

3. Fruits: Opt for fresh fruits like bananas, apples, or berries. They provide vitamins and natural sugars for a quick energy boost.

 

4. Beverages: Though it may be hard to sacrifice your morning coffee or tea, it is best to limit your intake of caffeine before a plasma donation as it can lead to dehydration. Start your day with a glass of water or juice to stay hydrated.

What not to eat before donating plasma

Certain foods and beverages can affect the quality of your plasma and your overall well-being during the plasma donation process. Here’s what to avoid:

1. Fatty snacks and treats prior to your donation. These foods can have a negative impact on blood tests, potentially preventing you from donating.

 

 

2. Fasting before your donation. It is important you’ve eaten a healthy meal within a few hours before your donation.

 

3. Fatty foods to avoid include but are not limited to: 

  • Sweets/candy
  • Burgers
  • Potato chips
  • Pizza
  • French fries
  • Ice cream

Remember that healthy fats are okay. These include avocado, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, cheese, and full-fat yogurt.

4. Avoid drinking alcohol for 24 hours before your plasma donation. Alcohol can lead to dehydration, making it difficult for you to donate.

What to eat and drink before a plasma donation

  1. Eat a protein and iron-rich meal no more than a few hours before your donation. You do not want an empty stomach! Protein-rich foods include but are not limited to

 

  • Yogurt
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Iron-rich foods include but are not limited to:
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Beef
  • Certain breakfast cereals
  • Beans
  • Watermelon
  • Turkey
  • Broccoli & leafy greens

2. Much like with food, what you drink is an essential factor in the overall health of your blood plasma. Drink plenty of water before and after donating. Drinking water is so important because it directly affects how full your vein is and how your plasma is separated. Make sure you have plenty of H2O in the 12 hours before and after your donation.

 

Extra tips to prepare for your plasma donation

Though nutrition is key to improving your plasma donation, here are a few extra things you can do to make your experience even more comfortable:

1. Get a good night’s sleep before donating your plasma, as it’ll allow for a quicker recovery and a more plentiful donation.

2. Ensure your sleeves can be pushed up so the center team can easily access the veins in your arms.

3. Consider bringing a light sweater to keep warm during the donation process.

4. Bring any personal items that will help you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.

5. Pack your phone, a book, or headphones to help pass the time. (All KEDPLASMA centers have free WiFi!)

Following these tips and keeping yourself healthy will make you eligible to donate plasma and save lives. At KEDPLASMA, our donors are our priority, and we thank you for your continued contributions.  We have 70 locations nationwide, find your closest center here.

FAQs

Do you still have doubts about plasma donation? Our FAQs section will hopefully clear them up. Remember that our medical team and staff is always there to answer all your questions in person.
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Tips for donors

How to improve plasma donation eligibility

Tips for donors

How to improve plasma donation eligibility

April 10, 2024

In its various forms, donation is an expression of reciprocity and solidarity. Each of us can help improve the lives of others by saying “yes” to plasma donations. Thanks to your gift, many patients can receive treatments that would otherwise be impossible for them to obtain.

To help you continue donating over time, we have compiled some practical tips to help you maintain your donor eligibility.   

Good practices to improve your plasma donor eligibility

Because the donation process can be done frequently and accompany you throughout most of your life, it can be useful to learn and implement some practices to improve your plasma donor eligibility.

 

1. Maintaining a healthy weight for plasma donation

Did you know that your weight has an impact on your donation? If you weigh under 110 pounds, plasma donation could be considered too much of a strain on your body. If you are a petite person and hover around that weight, track your weight to stay above the cut-off line and help you feel your best while donating plasma.
You can maintain the right weight for donation by incorporating proteins (try to consume between 50 and 80 grams of protein per day) and by choosing foods that lower your blood pressure and keep cholesterol levels low (such as whole grains, fish, legumes, nuts, berries).
Monitor your weight regularly to identify any changes, and adjust your diet or exercise routine if necessary. Please keep in mind that your health always comes first. If you feel unwell during your donation, immediately inform your donation center staff.

Lifestyle choices can can impact plasma donor eligibility

2. The impact of lifestyle choices on plasma donation

Consuming alcoholic beverages may impact your eligibility for plasma donation.

Therefore, it is advisable to avoid them both before and shortly after donating. Alcohol can lead to dehydration, lower your blood pressure, and compromise the quality of your plasma. Generally, it’s best to moderate your alcohol intake as it can affect the donation process.

As for smoking, try to refrain from doing so before your appointment and for at least two hours afterwards to reduce the risk of dizziness or fainting. While there are no strict rules preventing smokers from donating plasma, the combustion process of cigarettes results in donors inhaling higher quantities of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. These substances are transferred into the blood, where they enter red blood cells and bind to hemoglobin, leading to less oxygenated blood. The diminished vitality of red blood cells could potentially disqualify you from donating.

3. Medication, substance use, and plasma donation 

In general, taking medication does not make you ineligible for plasma donation. However, some therapies may not be compatible with the process and may lead to a temporary suspension. This is the case, for example, with certain medications (such as antibiotics or antidepressants) and some types of vaccines. Also, some pain medications can affect your platelet count. You can still donate if you are able to stop taking them 48 hours before donation.

If you are taking medications but still wish to donate plasma, here is what you can do:

  • Communicate with your center’s medical staff: Before donating plasma, inform them about the medications you are currently taking and inquire if there are any specific contraindications to donating plasma.
  • List your medications: When you go to donate plasma, provide a comprehensive list of the medication you are taking. This will help the staff better assess your eligibility.

The use of cannabis does not disqualify an individual from donation and there is no data that specifies how long a donor should wait between cannabis use and plasma donation. 

4. Prioritizing safe practices for plasma donation 

Engaging in safe sexual practices is not only important for your overall health, but also for maintaining your eligibility as a plasma donor.

Sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and hepatitis can lead to temporary or permanent exclusion from plasma donation activities. So, remember to:

  • Use condoms during sexual intercourse to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Be honest during your plasma donation screening process: being transparent about potentially risky sexual behaviors could make a huge difference in safeguarding the health of the recipient of your plasma.

5. Navigating tattoo decisions as a plasma donor 

Are you thinking about getting a new tattoo? Consider that your new ink might have repercussions on your eligibility to donate plasma. In extremely rare cases, if the needle used to ink the tattoo was not properly disinfected, it could cause an infection that is not immediately detectable in the bloodstream. To protect the already vulnerable recipient of your generous plasma donation from potential infection, you will likely be temporarily deferred. This allows time for your tattoo to fully heal and ensures you have not contracted any infections.

To minimize the impact of your new tattoo on your plasma donor eligibility, consider these tips:

 

  • Have your tattoo done at a fully licensed establishment in the US.
  • Avoid getting a tattoo on your inner arm, where you connect to the plasma donation machine.
  • Try to schedule your tattoo when you plan to donate less frequently.

FAQs

Do you still have doubts about plasma donation? Our FAQs section will hopefully clear them up. Remember that our medical team and staff are always there to answer all your questions in person.

Tips for donors

Resting before and after plasma donation: why it’s crucial for donors

Tips for donors

Resting before and after plasma donation: why it’s crucial for donors

Plasma donation is a generous act to help people in need. As a donor, it is important for you to feel at your strongest on donation day and that is why you should put rest, both physical and mental, at the center of your preparation.

To ensure an even smoother donation experience and quick restoration of your energy levels, follow the following tips.

Before Plasma Donation

Get a good night’s sleep

The main form of rest is, as you probably guessed, sleeping. Aim for around 8 hours of sleep the night before your donation to feel like you have plenty of energy. If you are well-rested, your body can cope better with the stress of donation and minimize the feeling of dizziness or tiredness that can sometimes happen.

Get ready

Hydration is key to improving your donation experience! Remember to drink a lot of water and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, because dehydration can increase the risk of fainting during your plasma donation. Having a balanced meal before your donation can also help stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent dizziness or light-headedness.

During Plasma Donation

Fainting

If you are very tired on donation day, you could risk feeling faint during or after giving plasma. To prevent this from happening, you can follow the following steps during the donation process:

  • Practice deep breathing exercises to help calm your nerves and maintain steady oxygen levels. This can prevent dizziness and fainting episodes.

  • Remember that crossing your legs can restrict blood flow and increase the risk of fainting, so keep your legs uncrossed and relaxed during the donation process.

  • If you start feeling light-headed or unwell, don’t hesitate to inform your center staff immediately. They are trained to assist you and can take the necessary steps to ensure your well-being.

a woman resting on a chair

Can I donate plasma with no sleep?

In theory, you can. But remember that even if you feel tired, donors cannot sleep during the actual donation process. Being alert and awake ensures the safety and efficiency of the donation process, so try to get some shut-eye before coming to your center!

After Plasma Donation

Rest immediately after the donation

Take your time getting up from the donation chair. Rest for around 5 minutes in the donor chair to make sure you feel well and are ready to get up. Once you are up, relax in the refreshment area for 15-20 minutes before leaving the donation center. Should you feel dizzy, remember your center staff is always there to help. You can also drink or eat something to rehydrate and reinforce your body before leaving the plasma donation center.

Can I work out after donating plasma?

Unfortunately, no. For the rest of the day following your donation, it is crucial to avoid strenuous activities. Do not lift any heavy objects or go to the gym for an intense workout. Self-care and rest are important to help your body recover faster from the donation process.

 

By following these practical tips, you can guarantee a safe and comfortable plasma donation experience while contributing to a vital cause. So do not forget to take your well-deserved rest next time you donate!

FAQs

Do you still have doubts about plasma donation? Our FAQs section will hopefully clear them up. Remember that our medical team and staff is always there to answer all your question in person.
FAQs

Tips for donors

5 tips for donating plasma faster

Tips for donors

5 tips for donating plasma faster

November 13, 2023

Donating plasma is a fantastic way to help people who rely on plasma therapies, but the process can sometimes feel time-consuming for those who do it regularly. If you want to make your plasma donation more efficient and comfortable, follow these practical tips for donating plasma faster.

1. Stay hydrated

Although the donation process takes about 90 minutes, there is an easy way to speed up the process – HYDRATE!  If you are hydrated, your veins will be easier to find, and your blood will flow more easily. You may ask yourself, how much water should I drink before donating plasma? The American Red Cross suggests drinking an extra 16 ounces of water before and after your donation —even if you don’t feel thirsty. Ideally, you should start drinking one or two days before your plasma donation to prepare your body. You can also sip on water during your donation to keep your blood more fluid. Finally, remember to avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol before your plasma donation because these beverages can lead to dehydration.

2. Eat well

Did you know you can get some water intake through your food? Although 80% of your daily water intake usually comes from beverages, the other 20% usually comes from foods. Here are some examples of foods that are high in water content:

Cucumber

Tomatoes

Lettuce

Apples

Celery

Watermelon 

Grapefruit 

Peaches

Berries

Zucchini

Another tip for donating plasma faster is avoiding high-fat food. These foods slow down your digestion, make your blood ‘sludgier’ and, therefore, more difficult to separate. Sometimes, these foods can negatively influence your blood results and prevent you from donating altogether. Choose healthy alternatives like lean proteins, whole grains, and fruit and vegetables.  

3. Stay relaxed

Feeling physically comfortable while donating positively impacts how fast you donate. Choose loose and cozy clothes that you can easily remove, and with sleeves you can pull up and down. Staying warm during your plasma donation can also help you donate faster. When you feel warm, your blood vessels dilate and help the blood circulate more freely. Conversely, when you feel cold, your body shivers and tenses, constricting your veins and slowing your blood flow. Don’t hesitate to ask for a blanket if you feel cold during your plasma donation. To help you feel relaxed, consider listening to soothing music and taking slow and deep breaths during your donation.

4. Use a ball or squeezer

Using a ball squeezer, sponge ball, or stress ball can help speed up your plasma donation process by 15% to 20% on average. This technique significantly increases the blood flow that feeds into the donation needle. To achieve the best results, squeeze your ball every 5 to 10 seconds and try to synch the movement to your breathing. Even though it may seem complicated initially, veteran plasma donors easily use the rhythmic squeezing technique while reading or doing other simple activities.

5. Use KEDExpress (saves 10 minutes)

Save around 10 minutes of your total donation time and get priority access by completing your donor questionnaire directly from home. Questionnaires are valid only the day they are completed. New donors or donors that haven’t donated in 180 days must complete their history questionnaire at their KEDPLASMA donation center.

 

Complete questionnaire(s) the day of your donation in a private setting without assistance (go to the questionnaire)

 

Receive a QR code to scan at your donation center

Donating plasma is a generous act that can profoundly impact the lives of those in need. By following these tips, including staying well-hydrated, you can make your plasma donation faster and more comfortable.

FAQs

Do you still have doubts about plasma donation? Our FAQs section will hopefully clear them up. Remember that our medical team and staff is always there to answer all your questions in person.
FAQs