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to be worried at arm not being swabbed before needle inserted for blood-test?

(42 Posts)
annoyednow Mon 19-Nov-12 21:11:49

As above really. Had a blood test and the person taking the blood didn't swab the area before inserting the needle. This was after her finger was pressing it to assess vein.

Do you guys always get swabbed beforehand?

GhostShip Mon 19-Nov-12 21:13:42

Don't worry about it. She should have done it, but I've had times when it hasn't happened smile

EuroShagmore Mon 19-Nov-12 21:14:46

I don't like it when the area is not swabbed, but I've had it a few times without any ill effects.

GrunglyBum Mon 19-Nov-12 21:14:57

My DD gets blood tests fairly often and they always rip open a little antiseptic wipe and wipe the area first.

BalthierBunansa Mon 19-Nov-12 21:16:36

Not going to lie, i've had many blood tests and have never had the area swabbed shock

sleeplessinderbyshire Mon 19-Nov-12 21:17:29

current guidelines say not to use the little swabs any ore so if anyone is having blood taken and the skin IS being swabbed their HCP is out of date

nocake Mon 19-Nov-12 21:19:07

A bit of googling shows that some research indicates that as long as your skin is clean to a normal level (i.e. not covered in dirt) swabbing doesn't change the chance of infection. Having said that... most healthcare providers will have swabbing as part of their protocol so she probably should have done it.

nocake Mon 19-Nov-12 21:20:12

...or not. sleepless is obviously more up to date on these matters grin

annoyednow Mon 19-Nov-12 21:20:23

Thanks. Guess you're all still alive! Grunglybum, your DD's 'blood taker' sounds like best practice. Wish they did me. The potential is there for things to get infected though, isn't it. Think I'll ask them to make sure to swab in future.

oldraver Mon 19-Nov-12 21:21:28

Well I think its good practise but assume gloves were used ? Unless you mean the vein was pressed with an ungloved finger ?

I asked a nurse if it was wise to jab my finger immediately after she had sneezed into her hand and she got huffy (at least it wasnt my ham this time)

eosmum Mon 19-Nov-12 21:21:35

I donate blood, in Ireland, and they swab the area for 30 seconds, very hard with what looks like a dish brush with sponge on the end, it's actually more irritating that the actual blood donation. Wonder why they say not to swab anymore in the UK for blood tests?

annoyednow Mon 19-Nov-12 21:21:58

Just seen yours sleepless. I wonder why?

BuddyTheChristmasElf Mon 19-Nov-12 21:24:21

you're supposed to swab for cannulas which stay in, NOT for an in out blood test, some people still do but they are out of date. It makes no difference, you are very unlikely to get an infection from an in-out needle (unlike a static cannula) and all the swab does is add stinging pain

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 19-Nov-12 21:26:12

It's fine OP. XH is diabetic and injects a minimum of twice a day. He has been advised for many years now not to swab before hand.

Can't remember why, something to do with it toughening the skin or something. Now obviously that isn't relevant unless you plan on having 2 blood tests a day for the rest of you life but basically the upshot is that swabbing isn't necessary. smile

madamy Mon 19-Nov-12 21:28:07

I am a nurse and take blood daily. There is no need to swab before regular blood tests but gloves should be worn. Swabbing needs to be fairly thorough and needs to dry to be effective so those people who have a quick wipe of a swab immediately before won't get any effect! I sometimes don't use gloves as the key to taking blood is the feel of the vein not what it looks like and with very fragile veins it can be impossible to feel through gloves. I always wash and gel my hands though. You should have a swab before giving blood, having blood taken to see if there are any bugs (blood cultures, go into little milk type bottles!!) or when having a cannula (drip) put in.

honeytea Mon 19-Nov-12 21:44:40

I had a blood sugar test in early pregnancy that came back really really high, they didn't swab my finger and I was left think I was diabetic at 9 weeks pregnant. I had eaten a bun (nice sweat things helped with my morning sickness) on my way to the appointment and had not washed my hands, I said this to the midwife and she said oh it won't have made any difference. The day after I went to tmy GP and they did a fasting bloodsugar test on me that was fine, not even slightly high, he also said the midwife was wrong not to take my concerns seriously.

Now I go to the bothroom and wash my hands before every midwife appointment.

BuddyTheChristmasElf Mon 19-Nov-12 21:54:15

they ARE supposed to wipe the finger with a damp wipe (just water) and dry before a blood sugar prick test incase there are sugar traces on it, but not the alcohol swab/disinfectant

LiegeAndLief Mon 19-Nov-12 22:01:03

I had loads of blood taken through my pregnancies, mostly by phlebotomists (sp?), and don't remember being swabbed at all. Never had any problems.

multipoodles Mon 19-Nov-12 22:24:58

I give myself an injection every day and was told by the hospital it isn't necessary to use wipes as research has shown no difference in infections :-) I'm delighted as one less thing for me to do so please don't worry :-)

iliketea Mon 19-Nov-12 22:30:56

All the research suggests that swabbing before a routine blood test is not necessary. With those swab things you have to swab for a certain amount of time then let it dry to have any effect. If it isn't left to dry, the blood test will end up being more painful as it's likely to sting. It's totally out of date practice to swab first (we haven't used swabs for 2-3 years where I work).

MsVelvet Mon 19-Nov-12 23:10:00

As a student nurse i have not been taught to swab before giving an injection whilst in uni or on placement as it does not make a difference really.

CoolaSchmoola Mon 19-Nov-12 23:20:51

honeytea it will have been the sugar in your blood from eating the bun that made your blood sugar high, not because they didn't swab your finger. If you hadn't eaten the sweet bun, but stuck your finger in a sugar bowl it wouldn't have had any impact on your test at all.

If you eat something sweet like a bun before a blood sugar test you will have sugar in your blood. Swabbing your finger wouldn't have changed that. You ate sugar before the test - that's why it was high. (And that's why they then made sure with a fasting test - which proved it was the bun and not your finger.)

missingmumxox Mon 19-Nov-12 23:29:20

I started My nurse training in 1990 and we where taught NOT to swab if the person was socially clean as in not covered in dirt or grime, if they where you where to get them to wash with soap and water and also when doing a finger test for blood sugar to get them to wash as per the sticky bun story above.

I have never erred from this course as it seemed to make a lot of sense, when you swab you have to wait a prescribed amount of time, too little it stings when you take the blood as the alcohol gets in the wound and it hasn't done it's job, too long and the area can repopulate with organisms and they get the added bonus of a de-fatted area to colonise, on a ward where you could get taken away on an emergency, and multiple blood tests this increases the risk and eventually the skin washed of fats, the skin breaks down and you get a huge area for infection.

this advice is down to a call by the HCP looking after you, it is not wrong to do it in most cases.

honeytea Mon 19-Nov-12 23:31:45

But I had a pregnancy sugar test, the one with the vile sweet drink and my blood sugar in the after the drink test was lower than it was before the drink my body copes very well with sugar.

The GP told me even things like hand cream can make you have a "high" blood sugar as sugar gets into the blood smaple.

SneakyNuts Mon 19-Nov-12 23:46:31

I am a Phlebotomist and unless the area is visibly dirty there is no need to swab. It can actually make the procedure more painful. Gloves can impair accuracy when palpating for a vein and make it more fiddly too.

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