In a pinch and need a way to make some quick bucks? Don't stress. You can donate your plasma—the liquid part of your blood—for money, and if you're in the state of North Carolina here's how to do it.

The donation process in which you give plasma is called plasmapheresis. According to the CSL Plasma Web site, during plasmapheresis, “the cellular portion of your blood is separated from the plasma by an automated instrument that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” During the process, your plasma goes into a special container, while the cellular portion of your blood returns to your body. Donating plasma takes about 2 hours the first time, and about 90 minutes for subsequent donations.

Search online for blood banks or plasma donation sites in North Carolina, such as the CSL Plasma location in Charlotte or the BioLife Plasma Services location in Greensboro. Find and jot down the addresses and phone numbers for about three or four sites that are nearest to you. Also check for blood drives being held on college campuses. Many campuses hold several blood or plasma drives throughout the year.

Make the calls. Phone the sites nearest to you that you have chosen and ask questions about donating plasma for money. Ask whether you need to set up an appointment to make a donation. Ask how much compensation you will receive, since every site varies. Also ask about what your plasma will be used for and how people will benefit from it. The donation site staff should have no problem answering your questions.

Get a good night's sleep. Though you should always get a good night's rest (about eights hours), make sure you catch some good Zs the night before you donate plasma.

Take the healthy route. Eat a healthy meal two to three hours before donating plasma. According to the BioLife Plasma Services Web site, you should eat high-protein foods such as lean meat and a complex carbohydrate such as some type of bread.

Prep for pre-screening. When you go in to donate plasma, the site's medical staff will give you a pre-screening questionnaire to answer truthfully and as accurately as you can. They will also ask about your medical history, so be prepared. Inform the staff of conditions such as a new tattoo or a recent major surgery.

If you are under the age of 18, and if your weight is under 110, you are not able to donate plasma. However, if you meet these requirements, then be sure to follow the success tips that BioLife Plasma Services list on its Web site, such as drinking plenty of water the day before, the day of and after you donate and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. And don't smoke right before you donate. These things could affect your donation time and the quality of your plasma.

The worst thing you want to happen is to affect the quality of your plasma (and not be able to donate and get money) by not following the health tips. Possible side effects of donating plasma include, “dizziness, fainting, nausea, convulsions and shock,” according to CSL Plasma.

Donating your plasma may be easy money, but it's not safe to overdo it. Because plasma is replaced in the body quickly, you can make a donation up to two times within a period of seven days (with one day in between donations), according to the BioLife Plasma Services Web site. However, if your give too much plasma, you run the risk of having an iron deficiency.

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