How to prepare for collecting your venous blood sample

We've put together some helpful guidance to support you through having your venous blood draw.

Whether it is your first time or your tenth time, a blood draw can seem a little daunting.

Though you do not need to be concerned. Having blood drawn is comfortable, straightforward, and quick.

To best prepare, and help your experience go as smoothly as possible, follow our helpful top tips below.

Before your blood draw appointment

Firstly, check your order complete email to see whether there are any specific instructions for your test. You will need to follow these before your test (these are important to follow because they may affect your results).

Our top tips:

  • Hydrate well. This increases your blood volume, so it will be easier for your medical professional to collect your blood.
  • Consider eating (unless advised to fast for your blood test). Low blood sugar can make you feel lightheaded. Complex carbohydrates, such as porridge or wholemeal bread, will release sugar slowly into your blood. This will prevent dizziness before, during, and after your blood draw.
  • Dress appropriately. Choose to wear something loose or short-sleeved on your upper body. This will make you feel more comfortable and make your arms easier to access by the medical professional.
  • Get good rest. A full night's sleep before your test will help you to feel alert and reduce your risk of feeling unwell during the blood draw.

During your blood draw appointment

What to expect

The total process can take as little as 5 minutes, but this can vary. Your medical professional will ask to examine your arms for visible blood vessels and may attach a band called a tourniquet to a chosen arm. After cleaning the selected area with an alcohol wipe, they will insert a needle into the skin to access a chosen vein. You may feel a little pinch when the needle goes in. If the vein is difficult to access, your medical professional may need to try a different vein. The tourniquet will be removed, and once enough blood is collected, the needle will be removed from the arm. After the needle is removed, a plaster or gauze will be applied to the area.

Our top tips

  • Talk to your medical professional. If you are nervous or dislike needles, explain this. Your medical professional will have experienced this before, so can talk you through what to expect and put you at ease.
  • Use breathing techniques to stay calm. Perform special breathing techniques during your appointment which can aid relaxation - you can even practise these at home beforehand. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds and wait for 4 seconds, and repeat!
  • Distraction is the way forward. Take a book or watch a funny video on your phone. If you take your headphones, you could even listen to music or a podcast. You do not need to watch what the medical professional is doing, and it will be finished before you know it!
  • Feeling unwell? Tell your medical professional and remember that if it gets too much, they can stop at any point. They may ask you to take 5 minutes out or lie down until you feel better.
  • Take something tasty. As soon as your blood test is finished, try having some food or a sweet treat. This will help to regulate your blood sugar (as well as providing a reward to say well done!). This is especially important if you have fasted and need to travel home.

After your blood draw appointment

Our top tips

  • Keep it on. Keep your plaster or gauze on for 6 hours following your blood draw.
  • Re-fuel. Ensure you continue to eat normally and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Assess how you feel. Only a small amount of blood would have been taken, so you should not feel any after-effects. If in any doubt, get in touch with a medical professional for advice.
  • Take some rest. This is especially important if you felt at all unwell during your appointment.
  • Try cold therapy. If you feel any tenderness around the area, applying a cloth-covered ice pack for 20-30 minutes can help relieve it.
  • Do not be surprised to discover that you have a small bruise where the needle went in. This is normal and harmless, and it should disappear within a few days.

Once your blood has been collected, and your sample has been posted, you can sit back and await your blood test results. These will appear in your personal dashboard along with comments from Medichecks' expert doctors.