Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you get phlebitis from donating blood?"
I think something is wrong with my veins after I donated blood last week. The veins in the arm where I donated the blood look a little bigger than the other arm. I heard this could be phlebitis. Could you get it from donating blood or from the needle?
First of all, thank you for donating blood! The most common complication in the veins from donating blood is a small amount of trauma from the needle insertion. This may result in some leaking of blood out of the vein, called "blown vein," which typically makes the vein look a bit more dilated then it normally would. This is not something you need to worry about, as the vein will gradually heal itself up again over a period of a few days to weeks. Phlebitis, on the other hand, is an inflammation of the vein, typically a sign of an early infection. This can theoretically happen after donating blood, as the needle insertion can serve as a source of infection, although of course the blood donation center takes precautions to prevent this. Symptoms of phlebitis would include pain and redness and warmth over the vein, especially if the redness is forming a streak along the course of the vein. If you think you have phlebitis, you should go to see your primary care doctor. Although most cases of phlebitis get better with warm compresses, occasionally more severe cases may need to be treated with antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection.
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