Over the past so and so years of medical history, one of the most enduring and real mainstays of modern medicine remains to be laboratory tests that require drawing blood. Most adults have been through the arduous process of having their bloodwork done because it’s pretty much impossible to have even a simple annual check-up without someone poking their needles in you.
Blood testing is one of the most helpful ways to gauge a person’s overall health condition. It’s an often appropriate and important part of evaluating anyone’s health concerns, particularly as you grow older and start presenting more concerning symptoms that can lead to various diagnoses.
With the past year placing an emphasis on people’s overall health condition and immune system, it wouldn’t do to wait out that 3-month long waitlist just to get your yearly physical because of the already overwhelmed medical institutions.
Drawing your own blood might seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and the correct approach, you can save yourself the trip and risk exposing yourself further.
With both at-home testing and traditional hospital testing, you have to follow the same rules pre-drawing. First and foremost, it’s important to make sure you know exactly what kind of blood test you require. Most of the pre-test instructions will vary depending on what type it is. For example, some tests will require you to fast for a certain period of time, while some don’t require you to do anything at all.
It is, however, important that you drink plenty of water and take your medications as usual. When you’re hydrated, your blood volume goes up, and your veins are plumper and easier to access.
Some tests will also recommend to stop taking aspirin at least 2 days before you plan on having your blood drawn, especially in the cases of donating your samples.
While it can be everyone’s worst nightmare seeing the needle prick their skin, the procedure is usually brief and often anticlimactic. Since you will be conducting your own test, it’s good to remember you are completely in control at all times; meaning you can go at your own pace and control the pressure applied to your skin.
It will greatly help your case if you locate the best vein by gently pressing your fingers against the area of your arm, taking your time to really search for the optimal location of entry so you only need to break skin once. Tying a tourniquet around your arm and tapping on the skin will help increase blood flow, making it easier to visibly see the lines of veins.
You’ll find that some veins are trickier to draw from than others. These are called ‘shy veins’, but not to worry – you can easily coax them out yourself and don’t need a professional. You can achieve this by tightening the tourniquet around your bicep, spending more time palpating your veins, or placing a warm pad against your skin to feel for the lump. Once you’ve found the best spot, it’s time to do the actual work.
If the whole needle and syringe combination isn’t up to your speed, the finger prick tests like the one from Tigeni are as reliable and accurate in delivering results with only a quarter of the pain.
After having your blood drawn, it’s normal to apply constant pressure where the needle broke skin for at least a few hours. Holding a band-aid or gauze against the puncture side will mitigate any bruising, one of the most common side effects of post-blood tests.
It is worth noting that not everyone’s skin is the same. Even with all these precautions followed, it’s completely normal for minor bruising and swelling around the puncture site to occur. Because every person’s veins are different and it moves frequently, bruising can occur even with the most experienced medical professionals. It should go away within a few days.
Ever since the invention of blood tests, along with it has spawned a very real fear surrounding the entire ordeal known as ‘hemophobia’ or fear of blood.
Sometimes it’s because the person pricking away at their skin is a complete stranger with a less-than-delicate object. By removing this variable and taking it upon yourself to do the bloodwork, it already eliminates some of the fear because you’re the one holding the needle this time.
At a time like this, it’s important to know how to do the most basic healthcare maintenance solutions – because you never know when you might need to do it yourself.