Getting a blood test soon? Tips to help you prepare

RMIT University

RMIT healthcare expert shares preparation strategies that can help you feel less anxious before doing a blood test.

Topics: blood tests, blood collections, preparation strategies

Dr Sapha Shibeeb, Senior Lecturer, Laboratory Medicine

“Blood tests are a common medical procedure that can offer valuable insights into your health.

“For some patients, blood collections may feel uneasy and anxious. Here are some preparation strategies that can help you get through the procedure.

  • Hydrate: drinking plenty of water right up to 30 minutes before your appointment can improve blood flow, making your veins more accessible.

  • Loose clothing: wear clothing that allows easy access to your arms to ensure a less stressful procedure.

  • Manage anxiety: If the sight of blood makes you anxious, look away and try to keep breathing normally. You could try bringing something to read or music to listen to.

  • Know your risk of fainting: you can have your blood drawn while lying down to minimise the risk of passing out and injury.

  • Discuss difficult veins: as some people have smaller or scarred veins, it is important to talk to the healthcare provider if you feel discomfort or significant pain. A finger prick can be performed for some tests.

“If you do experience swelling, bruising or pain after a test, follow general first aid procedures to alleviate discomfort which include applying ice to the site or resting the affected arm.

“Keep in mind that before a test, the healthcare provider will give you specific instructions (such as fasting for up to 12 hours or temporarily discontinuing certain medications).

“Also avoid strenuous exercise before your blood test.

“It is crucial to follow these guidelines meticulously as they can significantly impact the accuracy of your test results.”

Dr Sapha Shibeeb has worked as a medical laboratory scientist in diagnostic pathology laboratories. He now teaches in the Laboratory Medicine program where he focuses on cardiovascular disease and blood clot formation.

/Public Release.