BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Over eighty-seven thousand residents have had Coronavirus, yet our blood banks are in dire need of convalescent plasma. So why aren’t we seeing an excess amount of donors? Well, some people are scared and have misconceptions about the donating process. We want to break those myths and show you, donating is simple, and could help save someone’s life.
Here’s how it works: To begin, you’ll schedule an appointment. Make sure you have your positive and negative test result handy, they’ll need that when you book the appointment. Once you arrive, you’ll check in and then take a seat in a room where you will read detailed information and answer questions that pertain to if your blood can be accepted. They’ll also test you iron to make sure you meet the criteria to donate, that can be an obstacle in itself. For me, I had low iron the first time so I made sure to eat iron dense before I went back. Second times the charm! Last check is your vitals and from there you’re off to the chair.
This process is similar to donating blood, but there are some differences. Expect to be in the chair at least thirty minutes. My donation took 28 minutes not including the set up. They’ll also calculate how much plasma you can donate ahead of time, it depends on your height, weight and gender.
After you’re all done, you can relax in the canteen and enjoy some snacks and juice. After that, make sure to take it slow for the rest of the day and make sure you don’t skip any meals. The next day, you’ll be back to your normal self.
Erika Rios, a phlebotomist, says she tells donors to imagine it was someone they loved in the hospital. She hopes it serves as a motivation for donors to keep coming back. This plasma is used to help patients create antibodies to help fight the virus, hopefully shortening their stay in the hospital.
Houchin says when the pandemic first started, they were seeing tons of donors, but that moment has slowed immensely. They’re trying to do what they can to get people into the chair. All this month, they are offering a financial incentive for those who donate convalescent plasma, platelets and plasma.
Remember, no one is exempt from getting the virus. If it were you or someone you love on the other end, you would want someone to help in any way they could.
If you are interested in donating, you can schedule an appointment here.
A reminder, Houchin is still in need of platelets and blood too.