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New Donor?

Thank you for your interest in becoming an Olgam Life donor!  You are welcome to stop by at any time, no appointment necessary.

Just be sure to bring:

1. Your current, unexpired ID
2. Proof of address within 50 miles of a center (a piece of mail or a bill with your full name and address will do)
3. Your social security card or a tax document with your full name and SSN displayed

The center will help you complete a health questionnaire and conduct a quick physical to determine your eligibility. After each successful donation, you will be paid between $50-$70 in NYC and between $50-$100 in Florida.

We hope to see you soon!

March 11, 2023

What Are Some Side Effects When Donating Plasma?

Arm with cannula
Caring is sharing

What Are Some Side Effects When Donating Plasma?

The plasma donation process involves an invasive procedure where your skin is pierced with an IV needle and cannula to draw blood from your vein before removing the plasma and having the blood cells and platelets reintroduced to your bloodstream.

Although it’s only a minor procedure, it’s not without some side effects. What donating plasma side effects can you expect and anticipate on your visit? And how can you soothe and treat them?

Common Side Effects of Plasma Donation

These common side effects are often experienced immediately after a donation and can be remedied easily.


Collecting plasma removes some of your body’s essential fluid, salts, and nutrients. This can temporarily disturb your electrolyte balance and cause dizziness and faintness. At most donation centers, donors are encouraged to sit, rest, drink some water, and eat a snack before they leave.

Eating something sugary can help to stop feelings of dizziness. Making sure you prepare for your plasma donation by eating a hearty meal rich in iron and protein is also a good way to reduce the likelihood of dizziness and maximize the number of times you feel comfortable donating.

If you feel like you are going to faint or vomit, let someone know. They may need to stop the donation process.


Plasma is made up of 92% water, so when we harvest your plasma, you will become dehydrated. It’s important to drink water regularly throughout the day to help your body stay hydrated. Make sure you drink more water just before and after your donation appointment, too.

Adults are recommended to drink nine to 13 cups of water every day and two extra cups of water right before their appointment.


When the needle pierces your skin and vein, it’s possible some blood can flow out of your vein and into the surrounding tissues, even if your phlebotomist is very skilled. This bruising can remain on the skin for a few days and be tender to touch or pressure.

There’s no real way to avoid getting a bruise during plasma donation or speed up the healing process, but a bruise shouldn’t affect your day-to-day life and can be covered with a sleeve until it’s healed completely.


When plasma is collected, it means nutrients and salts are depleted from the body. Fatigue (tiredness) is a common side effect while your body works to keep functioning normally until it can completely replenish the lost plasma.

Fatigue is one of the reasons we recommend not going further than 50 miles from home for your donation appointment. Thankfully we have a network of Olgma Life donation centers across New York City and Florida so that you can find one close to you.

There are plasma donation centers all across the United States. We guarantee you’ll never be far from one. Though, not all donation centers are the same. Find out what to know about donation centers in our article Are All Plasma Donation Centers the Same?

Rare Side Effects

These side effects aren’t common but could still happen (though on very rare occasions), so it’s a good idea to know what they are.


Risk of infection is always present when the skin is broken. The protecting barrier is compromised, leaving an opening through which bacteria can pass. The needle used to pierce the skin could, theoretically, harbor bacteria too.

The chance of an infection is always very low when phlebotomy is performed in a controlled setting because trained professionals follow very strict hygiene protocols. Regardless, it’s still a good idea to monitor the area where your blood was taken for signs of infection and visit a healthcare professional if they arise:

  • Redness of the skin

  • Swelling or a ‘hard’ feeling when the area is pressed

  • Unusual heat in the area when touched

  • Visible pus under the skin or breaking through

Find out if you can donate plasma after having had Covid-19 and where your plasma goes after we collect it.

Arterial Puncture

When your whole blood is collected to separate the plasma, the technician will puncture a vein in your arm with a needle and draw the blood. An arterial puncture occurs when the technician accidentally punctures an artery instead of a vein.

Arteries have a much higher pressure than veins and can cause heavy bleeding into your arm tissue and surrounding area. When this happens, the technician can usually fix the problem by withdrawing the needly and applying pressure to the puncture site for around 10 minutes.

Citrate Reaction

When your whole blood has been collected, a liquid called citrate is then added before the process of apheresis. Citrate is an anticoagulant, and it is used to prevent clotting so that your whole blood can be effectively separated into its components.

When your blood cells and platelets are added back to your bloodstream, some citrate will also enter your body. Citrate reaction is a very rare but serious condition whereby the individual reacts to a temporary reduction in calcium in the body as a result of the citrate.

Signs of citrate reaction should be treated with urgent medical attention:

  • Numbness and tingling in lips and extremities

  • Chills and shivering

  • Lightheadedness

  • Pulse changes and shortness of breath

  • Muscle twitches

  • Shortness of breath

Citrate reaction might affect your chances of donating. Find out what could exclude you from donating plasma.

Nerve Irritation/Injury

There is a small chance that the needle used to pierce your vein and collect blood could touch a nerve when it is inserted or withdrawn. This could result in a sharp pain or tingling sensation, either at the puncture site or in the surrounding area.

Nerve irritation or reaction is generally only short-term. The person collecting your blood may apply a cold compress to soothe the sensation.

At Olgam Life, we help wonderful people like you donate plasma. We build strong relationships with the communities we work in and always look for more friendly staff. Read our frequently asked questions about plasma donation, or get in touch with us.

Shape April 2022 HR 202
Written by
Tom Pickering