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Blood Tests

Author(s): E. Schaefer, Created: 2011/08/08, Reviewed by: I. Astigarraga, J. Donadieu, M. Girschikofsky, R. Haupt, G. Janka, I. Malinowska, last update: 2013/03/21

All blood tests can only be performed with a sample of your blood. The doctor will prick a very tiny whole with a small needle. This will hurt a little, but you will forget it once you can observe your blood coming out. Imagine millions of blood cells swimming through this very small tube! The lab assistant will watch it under a microscope and this will tell a whole lot about what is going on in your body.

 
It takes some time to get a blood sample, but it will help finding the right cure.

And here are some tips from other children having given a blood sample:

  • Don't look at all if you can't bear seeing blood!!! But if you can, then ...
  • Observe exactly how the doctor disinfects your arm to make it very, very clean.
  • Hold your arm very still. If you're afraid that you will move your arm or even draw it away when you feel the prick, then ask a nurse to help you hold your arm in the correct position.
  • When the doctor takes the needle, look away until you have felt the prick. It will only hurt a little when you don't observe it, because then you don't know, when exactly it will happen. Once you feel it, it's over.
  • Watch carefully the blood coming out of your arm into the tube. Isn't it fascinating that you can only see the red blood cells? They carry oxygen through your body. You can neither see the white blood cells which fight infections, nor the platelets which help the blood clot in order to cover a wound in your skin. The lab assistant will see them all under the microscope!
  • The doctor will probably change the tubes and take some with different colors. The lab assistant will know exactly which blood test to perform when he sees the different tubes.
  • Watch the doctor or the nurse writing your name on the tubes. It's your blood and it will tell about your body!

Look away until you have felt the prick, then watch what is happening. Your blood will be examined in a lab.

What if you're afraid when you see the injection needle?

Fear is a normal reaction which helps us stay healthy, for example if we stay away from the fire, because we don't want to get burned. We inherited the reaction to fear from prehistoric people who were living in a very dangerous environment. Once there was a danger, they had only two options: fight or flight. Our bodies still know how to prepare for fight or flight. Our heart beats faster, we breathe more quickly, and we become stronger to prepare for quick action (fight) or quick escape (flight).

Most kids can control this fight or flight response when they know that doctors always want to help them and will never hurt them too much. They understand that fight (like wrestling with doctors and nurses) and flight (like trying to run away) are wrong reactions, because doctors and nurses are no danger at all. Thus, most kids manage to calm down and help by staying still.

Few children, however, feel scared without a clear reason. This is called anxiety or even phobia. It's like the fight and flight response stays "switched on" even though there is no real danger. Ask your doctor for help, if you feel you are one of these rare cases. Anxiety might be treated successfully or there are other ways to help to get through this.