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Learn About Blood Safety


WASHINGTON, Monday, July 2008 ó Please know that giving blood is safe. Should you need blood, you should not hesitate to receive it. As the provider of more than 40 percent of the nationís blood supply, the American Red Cross is committed to the highest possible quality and safety of blood and blood products for thousands of hospital patients across the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration agrees that the nationís blood supply is safer today than it has ever been. There are many layers in place to protect the blood supply and ensure it is readily available. From the moment a potential blood donor walks into a Red Cross blood donation center until the blood is shipped to a hospital, our staff performs hundreds of steps to safeguard each unit. Some of these steps include:

* A comprehensive donor screening regarding the donorís health history and lifestyle.
* A mini physical exam including blood pressure, temperature, pulse and red cell volume to ensure the donor is eligible to give blood.
* All equipment (needles, bags, tubing) is used only once and then destroyed to ensure donor and patient safety.
* Blood is tested in one of the Red Cross state-of-the-art testing laboratories where trained technicians perform up to 12 different tests on samples from each and every unit of donated blood. Every unit of blood is screened for infectious diseases such as HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C, as well as for unexpected antibodies that might cause a transfusion reaction in some people.
* Any blood that does not pass all lab tests is destroyed.

It is always difficult to collect enough blood to meet the need of patients during the summer months. Please consider donating blood by calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (800-448-3543) or making your appointment online at


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