Do I need to do anything to prepare for a blood test?
Occasionally you may need to fast (not eat) before your blood test, but your doctor will let you know if this is required. Unless you have been told not to, have a drink of water before your test. If you’re dehydrated, it can be more difficult to find your vein.
How long does it take to get blood test results?
This partly depends on the urgency of the test. Most tests done at your GP surgery are ‘routine’, meaning there is no urgency, so it may take a few days to get the results. If the people reporting on the blood results see anything they are worried about, they will contact your doctor or nurse and the surgery will get in touch.
Will I need other tests too?
Sometimes the results of blood tests mean that the doctor may want to do other tests, such as a scan on your heart or kidneys, or an electrocardiogram (ECG).
I am scared of having a blood test. What can I do?
Many people feel like this and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Tell the person who is doing your blood test – this will help them to look after you better.
You could also ask someone to come with you and distract you during the test. Some people also find breathing for relaxation helpful. If the problem is that you faint at the sight of blood, this is caused by a fall in blood pressure: you can learn techniques to stop this from happening.
Some clinics can use a cream that numbs the area where the needle goes in. You should let them know in advance if this would help, as the cream may need to be applied at home in order to work properly. Unfortunately, there is no ‘needle-free’ way of obtaining blood.