take the time to talk with your child about their experience in the hospital.
Most children learn to fear these situations due to things that they see and hear.
If you approach things with a positive attitude, more than likely, your child
will as well. Perception is everything! The following information has been designed
for you to read with your child. If you have any questions or concerns, please
Paediatrics - (807) 684-6514
Child Life Specialist - (807) 684- 6521
Paediatric Out-Patient Unit - (807) 684-6520
Your blood flows like a series of rivers and streams, throughout your entire body. It flows in tunnel-like vessels called veins and arteries. Blood helps to keep you alive and healthy. It carries oxygen and food energy to every part of you – from your head to your toes. It also helps your body to heal itself and fight off sickness.
Your body is made up of millions of tiny cells. Special cells in your blood do certain jobs. Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. White blood cells protect you from illness by gobbling up harmful germs. Platelets are another kind of cell in your blood. They help to stop bleeding and repair damage.
Besides all of this, your blood also holds a lot of information about your body. For instance, when you have a bad germ (called a virus) your body produces more white blood cells to fight those germs off. By counting the number of white blood cells in your blood we can tell if your body is fighting off a virus. That is just one of the many things that your blood tells us about you!
You have about two and a half litres of blood in your body. That’s enough to fill seven and a half soft drink cans. A blood “sample” is only a very small amount of that. And after the sample is taken, your body quickly makes more to replace it in your bloodstream.
In order to get the blood we must enter a vein. If you hold out your arm and look at the inner side of your elbow you might be able to see a vein. This is because the veins there are close to your skin. It is here that the sample will most likely be taken.
When it is time to get a blood sample we will need your help! A nurse or lab technician will wrap a tourniquet around the top of your arm. A tourniquet is like a big elastic and it causes more blood to stay in the veins of your arm so that they get fatter. This makes it easier to see them! In order to clean the “site” where the blood will be taken, you can wipe the spot on your arm with an alcohol swab, which will feel cool and wet. You may feel a quick jab as the needle enters your vein, but if you keep your arm very still it will be over very quickly. After the needle is in your vein you can not feel it at all. The blood will travel up the needle and into a clear, glass tube. You will be able to see your blood and imagine all of the tiny blood cells in it!
After the sample is taken a cotton ball and bandage will be put on your arm and your blood sample will be sent to the lab.
In most cases when a blood sample is to be taken, a nurse will apply Emla to the spot where the blood will be taken. Emla is like a magic cream that makes your skin fall asleep for a little while. When your skin is sleeping it doesn’t feel anything! The nurse will put the magic cream on your skin and cover it with a clear bandage. It needs to stay on your skin for one hour to do the best job. After that, most children hardly feel anything when the needle enters their vein! *Emla may only be used on children 6 months and over.*
No matter how much we try to prepare our children, there are times when their fears remain so strong that it is difficult to obtain a blood sample. In these cases there are a number of things that may be tried to lower the fears a child may feel. For examples, (1) having a child focus on an object, action, or thought (distraction) may help redirect their attention away from their fear; (2) having a child listen to relaxing music while relaxing their breathing may calm the child. The Child Life specialist is available to offer assistance and guide your child through the procedure. In the case that your child cannot be calmed, a bunny bundling is suggested in order to reduce the risk of injury during the sampling.
We understand the protective nature of a naturally concerned parent. This is hard on you too! Please discuss any concerns or suggestions you have regarding these issues with the nurse and/or Child Life Specialist.
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