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What Are the Dangers of Donating Blood Plasma?

author image Jonathan Croswell
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.
What Are the Dangers of Donating Blood Plasma?
What Are the Dangers of Donating Blood Plasma? Photo Credit Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Donating plasma is an activity regarded with extreme importance by doctors and hospitals. Plasma cannot be produced artificially, and many people with certain blood conditions require extra blood plasma to undergo surgery and other procedures. Plasma is collected through donations made by healthy individuals, and in some cases, the demand is high enough that individuals are paid for their plasma. However, there are some health risks associated with donation.

Bruising of the Skin

Bruising can occur at the location where a needle was inserted, particularly if the needle has to be inserted multiple times because its initial insertion lands off-target. This can result in bruises of varying sizes that last up to a week. Swelling and some slight pain can also come with this bruising. The most severe cases usually result from minor errors made by one of the one of the plasma-removal practitioners. These errors do not pose a health risk to the individual whose plasma is being withdrawn.

Nausea, Dizziness and Fainting

Some individuals may experience nausea or sickness resulting from their plasma donation. This occurs because the body has lost a large quantity of its blood plasma in a short period of time. While the amount taken out poses no health risk to the individuals, short-term sickness may be experienced, and vomiting may occur in some individuals. This can also occur when individuals do not follow the recommended health guidelines regarding eating and drinking water before the donation. Dizziness and fainting may also occur shortly after the blood plasma has been withdrawn and is more likely in individuals with lower weights, since the amount of plasma withdrawn represents a larger percentage of their total plasma. Avoid exerting yourself for one to two days after getting your plasma drawn--this will help reduce the risk of dizzy episodes.

Hunger Pangs

Because the body loses a significant amount of plasma quickly, it has to begin work regenerating new plasma to serve as a replacement. This can trigger fast and furious demands from your body for food to serve as fuel. Most plasma centers recommend eating a large amount of food shortly after leaving the center--some even provide food before you leave. Stick to healthy foods that are low in fats and sugars--these can trigger a nausea attack if you aren't careful.


The physical strain of donating plasma can make individuals tired because of the body's devotion of energy to producing new plasma. If you feel tired after donating, take a nap and let your body recharge.

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