Up to 20% of allergists have one or more immunodeficient patients. If you treat one of these patients, you understand the vital need for plasma to effectively treat them.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, and even before, the country has been experiencing a devastating shortage of plasma. Patients with primary immunodeficiency need immune globulin (IG) infusions made from plasma to give them antibodies to fight infection. Some of these patients have been forced to delay – or even go without – necessary treatments because of the shortage.
You can help! Encourage your patients to donate plasma and consider donating it yourself. It takes more than 130 plasma donations per year to treat one patient with primary immunodeficiency. Between 10 – 40 donations go into a single dose of gamma globulin, and 1,500 – 50,000 units of plasma go into a single batch.
Your patients may not understand that donating blood and donating plasma are distinctly different. Blood donations are mostly used for surgeries. Plasma is used for burn, trauma and shock patients as well as those with immune deficiencies, severe liver disease, multiple clotting factor deficiencies and bleeding disorders. The need for plasma is ongoing and constant.
They may be worried that donating plasma is dangerous during the pandemic. Reassure them that very high standards are in place to protect donors, and the standards have increased during COVID-19.
“Plasma donation is a gift of life,” said College President J. Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI. “When you donate plasma, you are giving a patient with primary immunodeficiency a chance to ward off infections and live a normal life.”
Find information on where your patients can donate plasma on the website DonatingPlasma.org. The site features a searchable tool to plug in their zip code to find plasma donation locations. It also provides information about the process, and why donating is so important and, in some cases, life-saving.