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Posted by Dr. Monica Wonnacott | March 22, 2016


Having your child’s blood drawn is awful. If you’ve been through it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, it’s worse than you imagine. Holding your child down and having her scream in pain and fear is downright terrible. If you’ve cried during your child’s blood draw, you are normal.

Unfortunately, sometimes it has to be done. The good news is that there is a little insider trick to making it go better. It just takes time and money (like everything in life I suppose). There are medications that can be prescribed to numb the skin prior to a blood draw to make the actual poke not hurt (either not at all or significantly less). One such medication (the one I prescribe the most) is called EMLA (it’s Lidocaine and Prilocaine). Other ones are also available. The key is that the medication is a prescription, so it has to be prescribed, picked up, and applied ahead of the visit. It usually has to be on the skin for an hour prior to the blood draw. You put a huge glob of the medication on the inside of the elbows where blood is drawn and cover it with Tegaderm (a clear plastic bandage that is sticky on all sides). You wipe the cream off the moment right before the blood is drawn. Naturally, this poses a problem if you didn’t know your child was going to get blood drawn ahead of time, but many times you know that blood work is going to be part of the visit, for example: visits for anemia, diabetes, cholesterol screens. So, if you plan ahead and your doc is willing to call in the medication, you may be surprised at how much easier the draw goes.

-Photos courtesy of