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Blood Test Procedures

Randall L. Tobias, former U.S. Global AIDS Coo...
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The Procedure for Taking a Blood Sample

Some people have a fear of needles or of blood and can feel faint. If this is the case for you, it is not a problem but  please make sure you let the person who is taking your blood know in advance so you can be positioned correctly to reduce this situation arising.     If you are taking any blood thinning medicines the procedure should be discussed with your doctor prior to your blood being taken. * A tourniquet will be placed around the upper part of your arm, this will be pulled fairly tight to reduce the blood flow causing the veins in your arm to swell this makes it much easier to locate the vein. * The area is wiped with an antiseptic wipe to reduce the potential germs on your skin surface (everybody has them!) they will wait for this to dry. * The needle will then be inserted through the skin to the vein this is like a pricking sensation it will not hurt excessively. * If you are having fasting bloods taken you may have a “cannula” or “butterfly” placed in the back of your hand and secured. It will be explained to you that as you will be having blood taken over a period of time, this method will reduce the need for repeated insertions of a needle. * The blood will be extracted via either a syringe with a needle, or more often a needle attached to a device where different vacum vials-(small bottles) can be connected so a small amount of blood goes into each vial for a variety of different tests, hence the different coloured vials. * The needle will be removed and a small spot plaster put on the site to minimalise the chance of infection. Please inform the person attending to you if you have allergies to any plasters. If the site does become inflamed, red and sore you will need to visit the doctor. * Pressure will be applied to the wound site for a few minutes to reduce the likelihood of bruising. Do not be too keen to release this pressure too quickly otherwise you may bruise or the site may bleed. * If you have been lying down for the procedure you will need to sit up slowly. * The blood sample will be carefully labelled with all your personal relevant details and stored correctly by the person who took your sample. * The blood samples are then sent to a laboratory where they will be carefully analysed. * The results of your blood test  will be sent back to your own Doctor they will then call you in for a consultation and the results will be explained to you. If you are not sure you will remember what is being said during this appointment, it can be a good idea to take a friend or family member with you. If you are going to receive results of a sensitive nature for instance the HIV test, counsellors are available to help you.

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