In a plasma donation, the liquid portion of the donor’s blood is separated from the cells. Blood is drawn from one arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects the plasma. The donor’s red blood cells and platelets are then returned to the donor along with some saline. The process is safe and only takes a few minutes longer than donating whole blood.
How much water should you drink before donating plasma?
Proper hydration before donating plasma is key to reducing side effects and ensuring a safe and successful donation experience. The American Red Cross recommends drinking 8 to 10 glasses (64 to 80 ounces) of water or other fluids on the day before and the day of your plasma donation.
Also drink plenty of electrolyte fluids after donating to replace lost minerals. Aim for 64 ounces of water as a minimum on donation day, and match fluids lost during the process. Proper hydration will promote the healthiest, safest donation possible.
Benefits of Drinking Water Before Donating Plasma
Here are the top benefits of drinking water before donating plasma:
- Prevents dehydration – Dehydration is one of the most common side effects of plasma donation. Drinking water beforehand helps ensure you are properly hydrated to avoid lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches and even fainting during or after your donation.
- Flushes out toxins – Drinking water before donating plasma helps flush out waste products and toxins from your body. This can improve your overall health and well-being in addition to making the donation process safer and more comfortable.
- Replenishes lost fluids – Plasma donation involves losing a significant amount of fluid in the form of plasma. Drinking water beforehand helps replenish some of these lost fluids to prevent fatigue, muscle cramps and other side effects associated with fluid loss.
- Enhances hemoconcentration – Drinking additional water before donating plasma may boost the hemoglobin and protein concentration of your remaining blood. This can potentially increase the yield of plasma collected during your donation.
- Decreases risk of complications – Being properly hydrated prior to plasma donation has been linked to a lower risk of issues like hematoma, hypotension and vasovagal reactions during the procedure.
- Shortens donation time – Donors who are well hydrated tend to have larger veins and blood flow, allowing the plasma collection process to go faster. This makes the experience less drawn out and tiresome.
- Aids recovery – Continuing to drink plenty of water in the hours and days after donating plasma helps restore normal fluid balance in your body and replace what was lost during the procedure. This speeds your recovery.
Drinking an adequate amount of water before and after donating plasma offers a wide range of benefits from reducing side effects to enhancing the yield of plasma collected. Proper hydration is key to a safe and comfortable donation experience.
What happens if you don’t drink enough water before donating plasma?
Here are some things that can happen if you don’t drink enough water before donating plasma:
- Dehydration – Not being properly hydrated is one of the biggest risks of insufficient water intake before plasma donation. Even mild dehydration can cause issues.
- Lightheadedness and dizziness – When dehydrated, your blood volume decreases which can lower blood pressure and inhibit blood flow to the brain, producing these symptoms. They’re common reasons donations must be stopped.
- Nausea and vomiting – Dehydration can upset your stomach and trigger nausea, especially when your arm is suspended for an extended time during donation. Vomiting is less common.
- Fatigue and weakness – Fluid loss makes your heart work harder which can leave you feeling tired and drained, both during and after your plasma donation. Dehydration also limits energy production in cells.
- Headaches – Dehydration is a frequent cause of headaches that begin during or soon after plasma donation. They typically improve once fluids are replenished.
- Fainting – In severe cases of dehydration and low blood volume during plasma donation, you may lose consciousness briefly due to insufficient blood flow to the brain.
- Lower yield and longer donation time – Donors who are dehydrated tend to have lower hemoglobin levels, smaller veins and slower blood flow, limiting the yield of plasma collected and prolonging the donation process.
- Prolonged recovery time – Not drinking enough fluids after donating plasma inhibits your body’s ability to quickly replenish and replace what was lost during the procedure. This can lengthen your recovery.
In summary, drinking plenty of fluids before donating plasma is essential to ensure a safe, comfortable donation experience. While recommendations vary, most guidelines suggest aiming for 8 to 10 glasses of water or other non-caffeinated beverages the day before and on the day of your donation.
The key is to listen to your body and make adjustments based on how you feel during and after your plasma donation. Drink to stay comfortably hydrated but avoid overhydration.
If you experience signs of dehydration like dizziness, headaches or fatigue during donation, stop the process and replenish fluids before continuing or rescheduling for when you’re better hydrated. Proper hydration is one of the most important factors in tolerating plasma donation well and recovering quickly afterwards. Staying well hydrated will replace much of what is lost during the procedure and reduce your risk of side effects. So make a plan to drink plenty of fluids in the hours and days surrounding your donation – your body will thank you for it!