What to Expect When You Give a Blood Sample
Blood Sample © harmpeti

Blood Sample © harmpeti

Blood tests are carried out for a whole number of reasons and are often requested by the doctor if you have been to see one. The tests are carried out to determine a number of medical issues including your general state of health, infections, how well your organs are performing and to screen for genetic conditions. You may be surprised at how much you can find out from your blood but it is an awful lot and therefore one of the first call to actions made when determining a person’s health.  The blood test itself only takes a matter of minutes and is usually done at your GP surgery or local hospital by a doctor, nurse or phlebotomist. Despite it being a quick, safe and easy procedure to carry out it can be a daunting thought for many.

Preparing for your blood test:

Some blood tests can be carried our right away however for some you may be required to follow certain instructions. Some blood tests will require the patient to avoid any eating or drinking (excluding water) sometimes for a period of up to 12 hours, whereas others may require the patient to stop taking a certain medication. If instructed to do any of these things it is vital that you stick to them so that the results of the test aren’t affected.  Failure to follow the instructions given will lead to the tests needing carried out again.

During your blood test:

In order for a blood sample to be taken the doctor must take blood from a blood vessel within the arm. The arm is easily uncovered and there are a number of visible veins close to the surface on the inside elbow and wrist area. When taking blood from children it is often done from the back of the hand and the area may be numbed beforehand.

Before taking any blood from the arm a tourniquet is tightened around the upper arm to slow down the flow of blood. This makes the veins in the lower arm swell so that the doctor can take blood from them more easily.

The area from which the blood is to be taken is then cleaned using an antiseptic wipe. This ensures that the surface of the skin is clean and sterile to prevent the risk of infection from occurring.

To take blood from the vein the doctor inserts a needle into the vein attached to a syringe. This is known as a hypodermic needle and when the doctor pulls on the syringe blood flows into the chamber. Sometimes 3 or 4 samples of blood need to be taken but this is really a very small amount of blood and nothing to worry about. When the needle goes into the arm you will usually feel a slight scratching sensation. Many patients worry that this will be painful however you should barely feel it.

Once enough blood has been taken the needle is removed from the arm, pressure is applied to the area using cotton wool and the tourniquet is removed. After pressure has been applied for a few minutes a plaster is then placed over the top to stop any bleeding.

After the blood test:

Because a very small amount of blood is taken during a blood test patients should not experience any significant side effects. Some people however can feel faint or dizzy afterwards so of this applies to you let the doctor know, and they will make you feel as comfortable as possible. A small bruise sometimes develops over the area the needle was inserted and may be tender to the touch. This however should go down fairly quickly over a couple of days.

Blood test results:

Blood tests results usually take up to one week and can be obtained by ringing your GP. Typically if there is anything wrong the doctor will contact you however it is best to ring up and check for yourself if you do not hear anything.

Friday, June 3rd, 2016 by Charlie Stelling About Us No Comments

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