We all have that moment where we get frightened by the idea of drawing blood from our bodies. Sometimes, even just the thought of inserting a needle in our veins will make us back out. While some are afraid, others are not sure of what to expect or prepare before the blood draw. Questions like “Do I need something to bring?” or “Am I required to do something beforehand?”
To help you sort those thoughts out, here are some things you can do to prepare for a blood draw.
EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST OR LUNCH
A good, solid breakfast or lunch is a good idea before drawing blood to help keep your blood sugar up. This will make you feel better after your blood draw and will keep you from feeling lightheaded or dizzy. If you suspect you will feel nauseous during the collection of blood, refrain from eating right before your visit. However, if you have a “fasting blood test,” you will be instructed not to eat or drink anything (other than water) before the test. Some need you to fast or not eat for 8-12 hours before your appointment.
This will make you feel better after your blood draw and will keep you from feeling lightheaded or dizzy. If you suspect you will feel nauseous during the collection of blood, refrain from eating right before your visit.
Drinking plenty of water is one of the most important things you can do for yourself before your blood draw. Being dehydrated can affect your blood pressure, which can make it more difficult for the nurse to obtain the needed blood from you. Because blood is nearly half water, the more water you drink, the plumper your veins become, making it simpler for the phlebotomist or nurse to find and extract blood.
If you’re unsure how much water or if it’s okay to drink caffeine or alcohol before your scheduled appointment–because some blood tests require you not to drink these, talk with your doctor or healthcare provider.
Some people find that they feel less anxious after drinking some water before their appointment, while others find that this makes them feel more anxious instead.
WEAR CLOTHING THAT IS EASY TO ROLL UP
Make sure it is not tight around the arms and wrists and will not get in the way of a blood draw. It’s more convenient if you wear something short-sleeved. However, if you’re cold, you can just wear a jacket and a shirt underneath.
Take deep breaths, and try to distract yourself. Remember that this is only temporary.
If you’re really nervous, you can ask the phlebotomist or nurse to give you something you can hold onto to ease your anxiousness.
The best way to prepare for a blood draw is to be well-hydrated, relaxed, and calm. Try different things out until you figure out what works best for you. People who are dehydrated or anxious tend to have higher blood pressure, which can cause problems with the test results.
Remember these things for your future blood drawing appointments.
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