Is it safe to get a blood transfusion?

To be sure that blood is safe to use for blood transfusions, the donor's blood is scanned for germs and diseases. Blood donors are chosen very carefully to reduce the chance of passing on an infection. Also, it’s important that their blood matches and is the right type for the recipient's blood and body. The donor’s blood is collected using a needle, and the blood is stored in a plastic bag in a blood bank. 

Many patients and their families are concerned about the risk of contracting a disease (e.g., hepatitis, HIV, bacterial infection) through a transfusion. While blood transfusions are not risk-free, the blood supply is safer than ever. Red Cross volunteer blood donors are carefully screened for risk factors that would disqualify them from donating blood. In addition, every donation goes through extensive testing for various infectious disease markers, including HIV and hepatitis. Donations that test positive are destroyed.

The risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, or bacterial infection from a blood transfusion is extremely low. When a transfusion is needed, the benefits of receiving blood outweigh the risk of contracting an infectious disease. If your doctor recommends a transfusion, ask about the benefits and risks.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.