Blood transfusions are very safe. Strict procedures exist to ensure that the testing, handling, and storage of donated blood is as safe as possible.
However, it is possible for a person’s body to react to the new blood. Such reactions can be either mild or severe.
Some reactions occur immediately, while others can take several days to appear. Examples include:
Allergic reactions are common. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), allergic reactions make up over 50% of reported reactions to blood transfusions.
Antihistamine medications can help treat allergic reactions.
A person may experience a fever following a blood transfusion.
Although this is not serious, if they also experience chest pain or nausea, they should let a doctor know as soon as possible.
This can occur when the blood types are not compatible, causing the immune system to attack the new blood cells.
This is a serious reaction, but it is very rare.
Symptoms may include:
- lower back pain
- chest pain
- dark urine
Transmission of infections
However, according to the CDC, experts test every blood donation for these contaminants. It is therefore very rare for a person to contract an infection from a blood transfusion.
The chances of getting HIV from a blood transfusion in the United States is less than 1 in 1 million.
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