Having blood collected isn’t a pleasant experience, so proper preparation is essential to ensure a viable sample is taken the first time.

This is especially important if your Doctor is requesting tests that require fasting, such as cholesterol and blood glucose. In order to prepare for a blood test, the recommendations are:

  • Come well hydrated; drink plenty of water the day before and the day of your test.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Fasting tests require you to have had no food for 10-12 hours. An overnight fast is preferable.
  • Fasting for longer than 12 hours can distort results.
  • You can have water during the fasting period but no coffee, juice, tea, soda or alcohol.
  • You can continue to take your medication as normal unless you have been specifically advised not to.
  • Let the nurse know if you have a preferred arm, or if you have veins that have been difficult to access in the past. Smaller needles can be used in the veins of the hand for some people, though this can be a little more uncomfortable and not suitable when several blood tubes are required.
  • Let the nurse know if you are feeling anxious or nervous about the needle. They may suggest you lie down to reduce the risk of fainting. They can also talk you through the procedure and suggest other ways to reduce your anxiety.