It’s inevitable – at some point, your child will need a blood test. Nobody enjoys getting their blood taken, which can be particularly stressful and frightening for children.
However, blood tests are important to find out what’s going on inside your child’s body. From addressing general health problems to preventing serious issues, blood tests are crucial to keeping your child healthy. If your child needs a blood test, it’s important to know why it’s needed and how to prepare them. Here’s how to make blood tests as stress-free as possible for them (and for you)!
Why Child Blood Tests Are Important
Testing a small sample of your child’s blood will help doctors determine if your child’s organs are working properly. It also helps check for many diseases and conditions.
Here are some of the things a blood test can help find out:
- If your child has an infection
- If your child has the right amount of crucial chemicals in their body, such as electrolytes
- The number of different types of blood cells in your child’s blood
- Your child’s blood group
- If your child has certain medical conditions and illnesses
What Blood Tests Can Your Child Can Get
Some of the most commonly ordered blood tests for children are:
Full Blood Count (CBC)
It’s done to monitor blood content parameters, such as the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, the ratio of blood cells to plasma, and platelets. It confirms certain diagnoses, detects hereditary diseases, and screens for underlying diseases.
Clotting or Coagulation
It’s used to measure the time it takes for a blood sample to clot. Other than checking for clotting problems, it can also be used to check levels of anticoagulation medicine.
Antigens are specific markers on the surface of blood cells. These are categorized into A, B, AB, and O. Blood grouping is usually taken before surgery if a blood donation is needed.
Blood glucose levels are essential markers for diabetes. Blood tests can detect diabetes if your doctor suspects your child might have it. While it’s used to investigate diabetes, it could also be used to monitor the effects of treatment.
Why Your Child Would Need A Blood Test
Blood tests provide important information about your child’s health. It helps diagnose diseases, monitor treatments, and check the general health and function of body organs and systems. Common reasons for blood testing in children are:
- To find out about their general health
- To detect medical diseases and conditions, such as any that affect the kidneys and urinary system
- To screen for an active infection
- To monitor the progression of the disease or the effectiveness of treatments
- To determine their blood group before a blood transfusion
- To check blood levels and abnormalities in different blood cells
It’s always better to detect problems early. Blood tests can help detect medical issues that aren’t easily caught on a general physical exam. However, blood tests can be scary for children. Knowing what to expect and preparing in advance can make your child feel less scared.
What Happens During A Lab Test
Here’s the usual procedure for a blood test:
- The area where blood will be drawn will be cleaned.
- A thin needle will be inserted into a vein.
- A small amount of blood will be drawn into a syringe or special container.
Your child’s blood sample will then be tested in a lab. The test results will be reported back to your doctor and added to your child’s patient record to be discussed at the next appointment. Rest assured that a blood test is a safe procedure. The test is painless, and only a small pinch will be felt.
How To Prepare Your Child For A Blood Test
During the blood test, help by comforting and distracting your child. Here are pointers on how to prepare your child for blood tests:
- Tell your child what’s going to happen. Walk them through the steps.
- Ask the doctor to explain to your child why they are having a blood test.
- Distract your child during the blood test with toys, talking about something they are looking forward to, games, etc.
- Support and comfort your child.
- Stay calm and relaxed.
- If the test doesn’t require limiting or avoiding fluids, encourage your child to drink plenty of water to make it easier to draw blood.
- Praise your child for doing well and reward them with a treat.
- Some children might feel lightheaded or faint from the test, especially if a lot of blood is drawn or they are very scared. It’s a good idea to bring a snack or drink for them to enjoy after the test.
Specific preparations can depend on your child’s age and personality. In general, it’s important to encourage your child to relax. Tense muscles make it harder to draw blood.
Pediatric Blood Tests In Purchase, NY
At BridgeSpan Medicine, our board-certified pediatricians can help you through the process of preparing your child for a blood test. We provide onsite laboratory testing for your child’s needs and your convenience. Blood tests can keep your child healthy, as they detect many underlying health issues.
If you want to learn more about children’s blood tests, call our office at (914) 698-5544 or request an appointment. We’re looking forward to serving your child’s needs!