Spring: time to supercharge our blood supply

Spring: time to supercharge our blood supply

Spring is a wonderful time of year for Lifeblood. As buds bloom, and hay feverish Aussies finally emerge from cold and flu season, we can breathe a sigh of relief and start getting Australia’s plasma donations back on track.

You may have noticed we spend a lot of winter appealing for new blood donors. That’s because many of our regular donors get knocked out by a seasonal lurgy, and week after week we need to find thousands of new donors to take their place and ensure Aussie patients get the life-giving products they need.

One of the ways we ensure there is always enough blood is to ask our regular plasma donors to instead donate whole blood. Blood donations last just 42 days, while some plasma products can be stored for up to a year.

Each year the demand for plasma grows. It’s used in more than 18 life-giving treatments, and it helps hospitals use less blood by helping to stop critical bleeding when used during surgery. 

In fact, it’s on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines, and you have it in your body already. It’s travel and tattoo-friendly — you can usually give plasma as soon as you get home from many international destinations, and after getting fresh ink at a licensed parlour. 

More than half the plasma collected each year in Australia — around 400,000 donations — come from 30,000 people. On average, they give 12 donations every year, and their plasma is used to make 2,500 transfusions and treatments given every day to patients. 

When we ask some of our dedicated plasma donors to give us whole blood instead during winter, many of them fall out of the habit of donating plasma. This winter alone, we asked more than 11,500 plasma donors to give whole blood to keep stocks steady. 

As the seasonal illnesses ease this spring, we need to get our plasma donors back into those life-giving habits. If you give plasma you can help more people, more often. Think you can't change someone's life while watching TV? Think again.