Using  the Blood Glucose/Sugar Test as an example I want to share tips that can make the experience of getting stuck less stressful.

This test is a screening test for making the diagnosis of Diabetes. The test for monitoring some one who is a known Diabetic is the  hemoglobin A1c, HbA 1c,A1C, or Hb 1c ; sometimes also HbA1c) level. This is the blood test to view the average blood sugar level over the last 2-3 month period. More commonly this test is used to evaluate the individuals control and use of Diabetic medications.


Do not drink alcohol for 12 hours prior Be honest as to what medication and OTC products you take, for example Tylenol can even effect this test! If you are having a ‘fasting blood sugar/glucose’ do not eat, drink, for 6 hours prior to the test If it is a ‘random’ blood sugar/glucose test you are allowed normal intake. It is important to be clear from the time it is ordered and to the personnel collecting your blood that which test it is. Normal values vary within a range.

The Actual Drawing of Blood

Usually the amount of Blood needed is about a teaspoon, however if other tests will be done from same sample (slang: ‘draw’) the tube may be filled-one tablespoon.

If you are not asked when you last ate or drank volunteer that info Ask that your non-dominant arm to be used, if you know where you have a ‘easy to get’ vein help out the technician. The elbow area to wrist is a less painful area and easier to get than hand. So your skin will not become pinched by the tourniquet ask to have it placed over upper arm clothing. After applying a ‘tourniquet’ veins bulge out – now when ‘good’ vein has been found the area is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic prep).

Next you’ll feel a sharp pinch as skin and vein are punctured then out blood flows into a vacuum (air tight) collecting tube. Tubes are color coded for type of preservative they contain thus allowing for specific analysis to be performed.

Once the specimen is collected the tourniquet is first released then the needle withdrawn. Direct pressure at site is applied as an elastic wrap that should be snug not painfully tight is placed –DO NOT Bend rather elevate for a few minutes. REASON WHY- think a hole is made in a tube (vein) if you bend it –the opening does not seal but gaps more so! SO do not bend just apply pressure and elevate!!

Avoiding the bruise marks. For infants & toddlers, a small sharp spear like tool (lancet) is used to puncture the skin and a gently squeezing expresses slow stream of blood. The blood collects into a small hollow glass tube (pipette), less often blood goes on a slide or test strip. If bleeding does not quickly stop a bandage and pressure is applied.

We all know someone who daily test their blood glucose with a finger stick. There are multiple lancing/pricking/stabbing devices on the market they all are much less uncomfortable than a blood draw.   ALL has to do with size of needles ‘pin’s head’. Know often your home tests show blood sugar levels that are about 10% lower than levels found in lab tests.


Be still! Only if you are asked to make a fist do so. Do not attempt to instruct the person with the needle! Your view is different, it is best to remain silent so the technician can focus get in and out of your vein as quick as possible.


Take the elastic wrap off after 30 minutes if you notice bleeding re-wrap and elevate, also apply cold compress over the wrap. If when you take off dressing there is bruising (black and blue) apply cold compresses thru a cloth for at least an hour so just to chill the skin not freeze it nor cause pain


If there is multiple attempts on same vein or moving the needle around once thru skin or a swelling bulging knot is starting know that you’ll have a big black and blue so pressure elevate and ask for cold compress afterward. Blood samples in which the serum is not separated from the red cells quickly in a lab will result in glucose values that are decreased. The results will be lowering at a rate of 7mg per hour when the blood is kept at room temperature.


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