There once was a time you had to wait around four months until you could donate blood after getting a tattoo. Heck, there’s even a misconception that you can’t donate blood at all if you have tattoos. However, if you’re keen to donate after getting a tattoo, you can actually still donate plasma. In fact, you can donate almost immediately after receiving a tattoo.
But what is plasma? And why does it sound like a fake sci-fi laser? Well to embody Ms Frizzle here for a moment, plasma is the liquid part of blood that contains antibodies and makes up more than half the blood flowing through our veins that help fight infections and diseases. Plasma donations are used to help fight cancer, and kidney disease, prevent critical bleeding in accidents and trauma and help those with immune and blood disorders live their lives.
Giving plasma is a little different as it takes around thirty minutes in the chair and the donor receives their red cells and platelets back during the donation. Giving blood itself takes about ten minutes in the chair.
Given that International Plasma Awareness Week (IPAW) happens in October, Pedestrian.TV is helping Australian Red Cross Lifeblood raise awareness for Plasma donations. Australia is one of the most generous countries when it comes to donating plasma, and we are one of the largest users of plasma medicines. For that reason, it’s still incredibly important to donate as our healthcare system relies on us to generously give blood and plasma so those in need can survive.
To help educate the tattoo community and ensure they feel welcomed and involved in the donation process, Lifeblood has partnered with four amazing tattoo artists to create temporary tattoos for each of the blood types, and also a generic version for those who don’t know their blood type yet.
The opportunity to participate and help educate was really important to James McKenna, one of the four artists participating with Lifeblood. “I was approached to get involved and loved the idea. I remember growing up that my Dad would always give blood (before his heart attack)”.
McKenna designed the tattoos for the O blood type variant and they look absolutely rad. “I tried to incorporate the O into the design by focusing on the spherical shape and placing it somewhere within the design where it would make sense to the eye.” For those that think having an O blood type makes you basic, I think these tat designs care to disagree.
Despite the donation process being simple, there are still misconceptions about donating blood. If you have any questions or concerns about donating, Lifeblood has an eligibility quiz online that will run you through a quick checklist also.
If you donate blood or plasma during October, you can score one of the aforementioned temp tattoos from the four artists based on your blood type. Lifeblood will also have an Instagram competition in October where you can win a signed print of any blood type tattoo of your choice.
To enter, take a photo of your arm with the yellow bandage or with the temporary tattoos given to you after donating. If you wanna participate, make sure to tag @lifebloodau and help spread the word!
If you are feeling nervous about donating blood for the first time, you can help beat the butterflies by being prepared and making sure you drink lots of water beforehand. Lifeblood also has a handy page to walk you through the process. The snacks you get for donating are a huge bonus, with party pies, sausage rolls and milkshakes available if you hit up the right location. There are also gluten-free (GF) and vegan options which is a nice lil gesture.
If you want to know if you’re eligible to donate take their online eligibility quiz.
Image: Dude, Where’s My Car