July 18, 2022

What Should I Do Before I Take a Blood Test - And What Should I Do After?

Key Takeaways 

  • A blood test can also serve as a tool to identify medical conditions early on so you can start treatment early and potentially save your life.
  • A few instructions to follow before a blood test include drinking plenty of water, fasting, avoiding bowel movements, and informing your specialist of any complications you may have. 
  • Routine lab test results are typically returned to your physician within 5 business days. Specialized laboratory tests can take up to 7 days.
  • Getlabs will come directly to your home or office to collect lab samples - schedule an appointment today.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a blood test is worth a thousand more. Blood tests provide a detailed picture of your overall health, how your organs are functioning, if you have a balanced diet, if your metabolism is healthy, and so much more.

A blood test can also serve as a tool to identify medical conditions early on so you can start treatment early and potentially save your life. That’s why healthcare providers include blood tests as part of your annual healthcare and wellness screen. There are several blood tests your doctor may recommend that provide different insights into your body and how it’s functioning.

Here are a few of the common blood tests and what they measure:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): used to obtain a measure of your red and white blood cells and hemoglobin
  • Blood sugar/glucose test: used to provide information about blood glucose levels for diabetes management
  • Triglyceride/cholesterol test: used to determine whether your LDL cholesterol is high

If your doctor recommends a blood test, a convenient solution is to have a mobile phlebotomist come directly to your home with Getlabs. However, there are some important steps you need to take before the Getlabs specialist arrives to ensure accurate results and a pleasant and comfortable experience. Here’s what you should do before you take a blood test and what to do after it’s done.

What To Do Before a Blood Test

Your doctor will likely provide you with a few instructions on how to prepare for a blood draw. These are meant to ensure the blood draw not only runs smoothly, but also provides accurate results and leaves you with as little discomfort as possible. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Drink water: During the eight hours prior to your blood test, you should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, particularly if you will also be giving a urine sample.
  • Avoid food: Typically, your doctor will request that you fast for 8-12 hours before your blood test. If this is the case, your blood test will be scheduled for the early morning.
  • Avoid a bowel movement: If your doctor has requested a stool sample, you should avoid having a bowel movement until the Getlabs specialist arrives.
  • H. pylori test restrictions: If you are having an H. pylori breath test, you should avoid taking antibiotics and antacids, and nutritional supplements for two weeks before your appointment. You should not intake any food or liquids for at least one hour before your appointment. Always consult your physician before discontinuing any medications.
  • Secure pets: We love pets, but to ensure they won’t interfere with your Getlabs specialist while they enter and leave your home, or during the blood test, we ask that you please safely secure them.
  • Inform your specialist: Before you have your blood drawn, remember to tell your specialist if you have had any previous complications with a blood draw, such as unusual pain, fainting, or severe bruising.

When your Getlabs Specialist arrives, they will:

All of our Getlabs specialists are committed to providing a friendly and professional service. When they arrive they will introduce themselves, show you their official identification, and ask permission to enter your home. Your specialist will respect your privacy and personal space and take care to maintain cleanliness and professionalism throughout the visit.

What Happens During a Blood Test

Before drawing your blood, the specialist will confirm your identification and ask you a few questions about your general health and blood test preparation. They will also make sure that you are sitting comfortably in a chair with armrests or have you lie down for the procedure.

Your specialist will examine your arms and select the most appropriate vein. Typically, this is on your inner forearm where your veins can be seen clearly. They will then clean your arm with an antibacterial wipe at the site where blood will be drawn.

Your specialist will then tie a tourniquet around your upper arm. This will make it easier to find the veins in your arm. If it’s uncomfortable, don’t worry, the test only lasts a few minutes. Once they’ve identified the vein, your specialist will then take a needle with a test tube attached and insert it into your vein. Depending on the amount of blood needed for the tests, another tube may be attached.

Once the sample has been taken, the needle will be removed. Your specialist will ask you to apply pressure to the puncture site momentarily. After observing the puncture site for bleeding, they will apply a bandage to the puncture site.

What to Know After Your Blood Test Appointment

Once your blood sample has been taken, it is labeled and sent to the laboratory to be tested. Routine lab test results are typically returned to your physician within 5 business days. Specialized laboratory tests can take up to 7 days.

Once your healthcare provider has received your results, you will get a call with the results. If necessary, your healthcare provider will ask you to make an appointment to discuss your results.

If you had your blood drawn:

After having your blood drawn, you should relax and follow these instructions to ensure that you do not experience any undue discomfort or after-effects:

  • Leave the bandage in place for at least 15 minutes to allow the wound sufficient time to seal, preventing infection.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects or exerting pressure on your arm for at least two hours.
  • Refrain from doing any vigorous exercise that may stimulate bleeding from the injection site, for at least two hours.
  • Do not allow objects (such as a purse strap) to exert pressure on the puncture site for at least two hours.
  • Although minor bruising around the puncture site is common if you notice any swelling or significant bruising, elevating your arm and applying light pressure for fifteen minutes may help.

If you notice any of the following in the arm from which blood was drawn, please contact your provider:

You may notice slight bruising and minor tenderness at the site of the blood draw. However, if you experience any of the following, you should talk to your healthcare provider:

  • Severe bruising
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

At-home Lab Testing from Getlabs

Blood tests are an important part of any routine healthcare or wellness check and provide valuable insight into your overall health and well being. That’s why it’s important to follow the above instructions to ensure your results are accurate and there is no unnecessary discomfort during your blood test.

Having your blood test taken by a Getlabs specialist means you can relax in the comfort of your home. With over 5,000 different lab tests available, you can book a nearby phlebotomist for many of the tests your doctor may recommend.

If you have questions about how it works, go to getlabs.com/faqs to learn more.

This page is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute the provision of medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice regarding any of the tests and conditions referenced above are advised to consult with a licensed clinician. Always seek the advice of your qualified health provider regarding a medical condition and do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information on this page. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest urgent care center or hospital.

Book an at-home lab collection

Getlabs sends a nearby medical specialist to you to collect your labs for Labcorp and Quest. Available same-day, nationwide.

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