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Why Travellers Give Great Plasma

Tuesday 27th Mar 2018

If you’re a frequent traveller and you’ve tried to donate blood, you may have discovered the two activities are sometimes not compatible. Due to some blood-borne diseases, there are temporary deferrals on donating blood after you’ve visited certain places. Check your most recent travels to see how they might affect your eligibility to donate.

Although some of the diseases and infections we’re worried about might be minor inconveniences to a healthy person, keep in mind that blood products are often given to people with poor immune systems, or who are otherwise unwell and can’t weather an infection the way your body can.

Australia has one of the safest blood supplies in the world

This is recognition we’re intent on honouring, so although your recent trip to Bali might make you ineligible to donate whole blood, there’s a good chance you’re still eligible to donate the plasma portion of your blood. Plasma is the liquid in which your red and white cells, and your platelets are suspended. You donate some plasma each time you make a whole blood donation, but you can donate just the plasma component of your blood through a process called apheresis.

You may be eligible to donate plasma when you’re ineligible to donate your whole blood

This is because plasma doesn’t contain the cells that can carry viral and bacterial infections. You can find out more about the plasma donation process, but what it comes down to is that you put your feet up and read a book, meditate, catch up on TV, or otherwise chill, while a special machine takes some of your blood, separates the plasma, and then returns to you everything else. Because this results in you losing less iron, and because your body replenishes your plasma so quickly, you can donate plasma more frequently than you can whole blood – as often as once a fortnight.


If you think you might be our next plasma hero, make an appointment today.


This information is provided only to inform which portion of a blood donation may be used after returning from international travel. It is not intended for any other purpose, e.g. travel health advice. If you have any questions about your eligibility to donate please call 13 14 95 or visit our FAQs.