After your donation

Your body replenishes plasma quickly, usually within 24 to 48 hours.

After your donation, you can return to normal activities, taking care to avoid any strenuous physical activity or the use of heavy machinery.

It's important to remember to drink plenty of liquids to keep you hydrated.

Tips to stay well after your donation

  • Eat and drink. We will give you drinks and snacks before you leave.
  • Keep the pressure dressing on your arm for about 30 minutes, and the plaster on for 6 hours.
  • Avoid using your donation arm to carry anything very heavy for the rest of the day.
  • Avoid having a hot bath after you have given plasma.
  • Avoid heavy exercise on the day of donation.

A man holds a page of his plasma
Adam Drew, 25, from Chessington, donated convalescent plasma at the Tooting donor centre

Are there any potential side effects?

Donating plasma is a safe process, but as with any form of blood donation some donors may experience side effects.

Most commonly, donors may experience minor side effects like dehydration and fatigue. Serious side effects are rare.

More information about potential side effects is provided below. 

Tests on your plasma

After you donate we will test your plasma to:

  • make sure it’s safe to transfuse
  • find out if it contains high enough COVID-19 antibodies to be used in the trials

Plasma from female donors will undergo an extra test for other antibodies. These antibodies are not dangerous to the donor but could be harmful to a patient.

They are common in women in general and are often formed after pregnancy. 

If you have these antibodies you will not be able to continue donating plasma. If this is the case we will let you know by letter.

We need regular plasma donors

We will get in touch with you by letter to let you know whether your antibody level is high enough for us to take further plasma donations from you. 

We may ask you to donate as often as every week, but please wait until you receive a letter from us, as this will explain what to do next. 

You may be able to donate several times but it is likely that your antibody levels will fall in the future.

Donating plasma will not reduce your own immunity

Donating plasma will not affect your future antibody levels. The immune system will quickly replace any antibodies we collect.

We expect that antibody levels will fall naturally in all people after some months. The immune system has the ability to recognise the virus so that it can create new antibodies. There is no risk to your health from donating plasma.

Banner image by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

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