Do you feel pain or discomfort after a blood test or blood donation?
Pain in your arm after having your blood drawn is relatively normal and may subside on its own.
However, there are cases when pain and discomfort still linger a week after the blood draw.
You may experience this if you have a fragile vein, are on medications, or have underlying health issues.
It is best recommended to inform your health care provider of all these before your blood draw.
Method Of Collecting Blood Samples
The collection of blood samples is necessary at one point or the other in every individual’s life. This may be because of tests, blood donations, and other health issues.
For some, this is a painful procedure, while others may feel just a slight prick or pain at the injected site. There are different ways of taking a blood sample, this includes;
There are some blood tests that require a finger prick. This is simple, fast, and effective, with results out in no time.
During this process, a small amount of blood is drawn from your fingertips, earlobes, or like newborn babies; the heel of your feet and your big toe.
The skin is pricked with a lancet to allow easy flow of blood.
Although this procedure is less intimidating, it may seem more painful than vein puncture, this is because there are more nerves in your fingertips than your elbow.
Before blood is drawn from the fingertips, you may have to warm the skin with a moist warm compress for about 10 minutes to allow blood flow to the area needed.
This is a more complicated procedure done in critical situations. Patients who are admitted in the hospital may require blood drawn from their arteries.
This is only performed by a doctor or specially trained nurse. A local anesthetic is usually administered before the procedure to numb the patients.
Afterward, the nurse or doctor applies pressure on the area where blood is drawn, to stop bleeding and prevent bruising.
What To Expect When Having A Blood Test
For some individuals, a blood test comes with mixed feelings and emotions.
Most people are relatively nonchalant about a blood test. Having their blood taken is easy, quick, and painless.
Other people may feel anxious, scared and may need strategies to help them cope.
Children, adults, and people with disabilities will need special help when having their blood samples taken.
Here is what to expect when having your blood drawn;
What Happens During A Blood Draw?
When having your blood drawn, a small needle will be inserted into your vein, either through your arm or hand.
It is usually through your arm, as veins here are easily identified and accessible. A clenched fist is required when necessary to make the veins more prominent.
Afterward, a cotton wool dressing is taped over the puncture site with gentle pressure to prevent swelling and bruising. Leave the dressing for about 2 to 4 hours or less.
There are special occasions when some people faint or feel unwell during or after the procedure.
In cases like this, you will be asked to stay or lie down until you have fully recovered.
It is advisable to avoid lifting, carrying heavyweights, or undergoing strenuous exercise during the first 24 hours of having your blood drawn.
If you bleed or bruise, let the blood collector know.
Does It Hurt?
You may feel a slight sting when the needle is inserted under the skin and an additional discomfort when it is withdrawn.
What Happens When Blood Does Not Flow Well?
Sometimes blood may not circulate well through your body. Drink enough water, a day or two to your test day. This will make the veins to be found easily.
However, there are some tests that require you not to eat or drink prior to the test. In situations like this, you may take a walk while waiting to allow blood to circulate.
Feeling Lightheaded After A Blood Draw
Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous, or sweaty might be prevalent with some people. Some may even faint.
But this is not a serious issue. Immediate care and attention are given in cases like this. Your blood collector will fill you in on what to expect during and afterward and how to cope.
Feeling Tired After Blood Draw
A blood draw is a draining exercise and you may feel tired afterward.
However, seek medical advice if you feel fatigue that does not improve or worsens after a few hours.
What Happens If You Have Cold Hands
It is usually recommended to stay warm to help blood circulate well and make it easier for the veins to be found.
If you experience some difficulty with blood drawn, lay down and warm your hands underneath a blanket or warm compress.
What To Do After The Blood Test
Most blood tests are relatively painless, with little or no side effects. However, you may sometimes have some bruising, pain, or swelling afterward.
If you experience any of these, avoid stressing or putting pressure on the affected site and take some prescribed over-the-counter medications.
Causes Of Pain In Arm A Week After Having Your Blood Drawn
Having your blood drawn might have occasional pain and discomfort, which are normal.
Bruising may also occur when blood from damaged veins settles underneath the skin.
However, some people experience more pain, discomfort, and bruising than others. Pain may also increase if the vein is not quickly found with repetitive punctures.
If you experience pain and bruising that persists along with other symptoms, it may be due to;
- Alcohol consumption and liver damage
- Some medical conditions
- Vitamin deficiency
- Taking certain medications
Complications Following A Blood Test
Most blood tests, blood draws and blood donations do not cause complications. But only if it is done by a professional with proper procedure.
There may be cases where a complication arises because of a patient’s medical history or a misguided analysis by both the patient and the blood collector.
The most common complication is bruising at the puncture site, which lasts for over 24 hours.
It is caused by blood leakage from the punctured vein to the tissues under the skin. Most bruising occurs when:
- The collection process is hard, or
- There is not enough pressure, or too much pressure applied on the punctured site
- When you exercise the punctured arm immediately
- If you have fragile veins
- Take certain medications
Bruises are not always dangerous and will slowly disappear a few days or weeks after, depending on the severity. Large bruises may become tender for a few days.
Other Complications that arise may seem like;
- Pain and discomfort that worsens when you move the puncture site or arm
- Severe or worsening tingling sensations in the arm
- Severe or worsening swelling and bruising in the arm
- Redness and inflammation in the arm
- Developing infections at the punctured site
- Weakness, stiffness, or aching in the arm
- Soreness and discoloration at the puncture site
What To Avoid After Getting Your Blood Drawn?
Side effects following a blood test are common and most will recover on their own without intervention from you or your healthcare provider.
However, there are tips you can follow to avoid some of these side effects from becoming severe.
Inform your healthcare provider
If you have underlying health issues, are on any medications, or have side effects after a blood draw.
Be sure to inform your blood collector of these before your blood is drawn.
Treat Bruising With R.I.C.E procedure
Practice these simple but effective process
Rest: Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise after having your blood drawn, for at least 36 hours. Rest well and gently massage the puncture site.
Ice Therapy: Apply a cold compress to the puncture site. Use an ice pack or a package of frozen vegetables after a vein puncture and avoid direct contact of ice with the punctured site. These are most effective.
Compression: Apply gentle pressure to prevent swelling
Elevation: Raise the arm with the puncture site slightly on arm support or pillow. This may not necessarily be practical, but if possible, incorporate it.
Some things to avoid include:
- Avoid standing for long periods
- Avoid activities that can cause lightheadedness or those that will be severe if you faint.
- Stay away from alcohol, strenuous activities and exercise, hot baths and saunas
- Inform family and friends ahead of your blood draw. This is so they can be aware and respond on time in cases of side effects, feeling faint and unwell.
Although some side effects following a blood test are normal.
In order to avoid complications and side effects, explain previous health problems and blood draw experience to your collector.
This will help prevent a repeat of past occurrences. You should also avoid things and activities that can affect your puncture site or arm.
Lab Test Online: What To Expect When Having A Blood Test
Medical News Today: Bruising After A Blood Draw, What To Know
NHS: Blood And Transplant:Bruising And Arm Pain