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Having a blood test Overhanging boy

Here are some interesting things about your blood and what happens when you need to have a blood test.

What is blood?

It’s that red stuff that you see when you graze your knee! This is a really important body fluid that transports oxygen and goodness to our body cells.

Our heart pumps blood around our body. It feels like a quiet drum  – b-boom b-boom. If you put your finger on the inside of your wrist you can feel this – it’s called your PULSE!

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Did You Know?
Nurse holding image Every child's body has about 3 litres of blood. Our bodies are really clever and always make new blood to replace what has been taken for a blood test. After one sleep your body will have made new blood to replace what was taken for a blood test.

Why do I need a blood test?

Your doctor may have asked you to have a blood test because you have been poorly recently and the blood test will help to find out what has made you feel unwell. They may also want to check that your blood is doing what it should do.

Some children have to have blood tests every few weeks to make sure that they are keeping healthy. This is usually because they have to take some special medicine or tablets and therefore the blood test will check to see that their medication is doing its job right.

Who will do my test?

You may be invited to a community clinic where you will meet a phlebotomist – ooh that’s at big word, how do you say that again “flu-bot’u-mist”, they are trained to do blood tests for children of all ages; even babies.

At the clinic will also meet the phlebotomist’s helper and a play specialist who will give you lots of different toys and books to look at while the blood test is being done. Your parents can come into the clinic room with you and can even read you a story whilst the blood test is being done. You don’t have to look when the test is done however if you want to that is fine – it’s entirely up to you!

You will only be at the clinic for a short while so no excuse for “bunking off “school.

At some GP surgeries, they may invite you in for an appointment where they will do your blood test. They will also have been trained to do blood tests for children of all ages.

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Will it hurt?

The phlebotomist will usually take the blood from the inside of your arm; this is also called the brachial vein.

They will use a special spray or cream to help numb the arm. You may feel a little scratch but this will only last for seconds. Your arm may feel a bit funny afterwards but it is still alright to use it. That means schoolwork can still be done. The phlebotomist helper will then put a sticky plaster on your arm and you can then go home/back to school.

What happens to the blood that has been taken?

The blood from your arm will be squirted into a special tube and this is then put into a special bag with your name on it. The phlebotomist will then send this to a laboratory to be tested.

The results of the test will then be sent to your doctor who may want to see you again to talk to you and your parents about the results.

Riddle me this!
What colour blood do lobsters have?
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The word phlebotomist comes from the Greek word “phleb” or “phlebo” meaning vein or blood vessel and “toma” or “tomia” meaning to cut or make an incision.
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