According to the Washington Post, one patient told the doctor, “I don’t like having my blood taken.” It’s never easy to locate my veins. Are there any ways to lessen how horrible it is?
The doctor remarked, “Having to be poked numerous times to find the vein is torture. Needles can hurt. A smoother encounter may result from drinking water the day before a blood draw and keeping your arms warm as you enter the lab. It’s challenging to remain calm, but it’s essential. Getting your veins and nerves ready can make a difference.
It’s a good idea to wear sleeves long that you can roll up, but I advise going one step further. Please bring a few hand warmers through your arms to widen the veins preceding the stick. You can also inquire if the lab has a hot towel to wrap around your forearms or try soaking them in warm water in a bathroom.
Check to see whether you’re holding your breath. Instead, breathe in deeply from your stomach, not your chest. If that’s not your thing, try talking to the technician or browsing through TikTok to divert your attention. Some people purposefully grasp the body’s opposite side to divert their attention when the needle is inserted. However, if doing so will make you feel more anxious, I wouldn’t recommend it.
After the technician is finished, keep pressure on the dressing for a few minutes—not seconds—to avoid bruising. A few hours later, refrain from using that arm for anything particularly strenuous.
Don’t be afraid to speak out if you have extreme anxiety or dizziness before, during, or after a blood test. Be sure to inform the technician if you’ve ever fainted during blood work. A butterfly needle, which is thinner than a regular needle and often causes less pain, might be used immediately, though it will take longer to take your blood. To prevent you from grabbing any floor, they can also send in backup or make you recline during the needle-stick.
Physical techniques, such as squeezing your glutes and crossing your legs, have been demonstrated to stop fainting tendencies during blood draws effectively. Just be mindful to avoid pressing down forcefully, as you do when having a bowel movement, as this can prevent blood from returning to the heart. Cognitive behavioral therapy may help those with a severe fear of blood or the linked blood-injury-injection phobia.
Not all of the blood tests I request are urgent. Ask your doctor if it’s okay to wait to get your blood drawn in one batch after all of your appointments if you have several doctor visits scheduled within a month. Waiting another week or two is frequently perfectly good if it won’t require you to get another needle stick, but so many people never do.