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Blood Transfusion: Care at Home

Article Translations: (Spanish) (Hmong)

What do I need to know after my child has a blood transfusion?

Transfusion of blood and blood products is usually a safe and effective way to correct blood problems. Most transfusions are tolerated well, but some children may have a transfusion reaction.

Most transfusion reactions occur within minutes after starting the transfusion. It is rare, but some signs of a transfusion reaction may not appear until hours or days (usually within 7 to 10 days) after the transfusion. Most signs of a transfusion reaction will be mild, but you should take your child's temperature and call the doctor if any occur.

When should I call the doctor?

Call the clinic if:

  • chills
  • temperature 2° F or more degrees higher than at the time of the transfusion
  • fever higher than 101° F (38.3° C)
  • swelling or flushing of the face
  • hives or skin rash, with or without itching
  • persistent cough
  • irritability
  • restlessness
  • headache
  • urine is red or unusually dark
  • joint pain
  • nausea (upset stomach)

Call 911 if:

  • breathing problems
  • blueness of lips or fingernails
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • pain in the chest or abdomen (belly)
  • very sleepy, difficult to wake
  • extreme irritability or restlessness


This sheet is not specific to your child, but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the doctor.

Reviewed 3/2018

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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