In one study, 10 of the 20 participants experienced an itchy rash in the area of the blood draw. In this study, the itching was only reported by the participants who had the blood draw.
To reduce itching, the researchers gave the participants a corticosteroid cream (1% hydrocortisone) on the same day and in the morning before the blood draw. They also gave the participants a second cream in the evening, again in the morning, and in the evening after the blood draw.
The researchers observed that the itching was only reported by the participants who received the cream in the morning before the blood draw. In other words, it’s not clear whether the itching was caused by the blood draw itself, or by the cream.
Itchy bumps after blood draw
In most cases, the researchers were unable to determine what caused the itching after blood draw. The report of itchy bumps is consistent with other reports of itching after blood draw.
In the study above, the researchers reported that 3 of the 10 participants experienced itching. In this study, the itching was only reported by the participants who had the blood draw.
What is the link between itching and blood draw?
The researchers who conducted these studies did not report any link between the itching and the blood draw. However, the study design was not well controlled. The researchers did not give the participants any anti-itch cream after the blood draw.
It’s possible that the researchers gave the participants the right type of anti-itch cream and the right amount of the cream. However, there is no clinical evidence to support this.
If you’re experiencing itching after blood draw, it’s likely a completely unrelated symptom. If you have any of the following symptoms, it’s best to see your doctor:
- A lump or growth under the skin
- Skin irritation
How long does itching after blood draw last?
The itching after blood draw usually doesn’t last long. In most cases, you’ll go back to your regular activities the same day after the blood draw.
However, itchy bumps or rashes can sometimes last longer. If the itching continues for more than a few days, talk to your doctor.
How to prevent itching after blood draw?
To reduce your risk of itching after blood draw, it’s important to follow these tips:
- Don’t scratch your arm or neck. Scratching may increase your risk of infection.
- Take a shower and wash your arm before the blood draw. The more soap you put on your arm, the better.
- Use a washcloth to wipe away any blood, or put a bandage on the area.
- Use an ice pack to reduce swelling.
- Use a moisturizer to reduce dryness.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid tight clothing to prevent irritation.
- Avoid using lotions or creams on the area for at least 24 hours after your blood draw.
- Avoid using a heating pad or hot water bath.
- Cover the area with a bandage after the blood draw.
A doctor can prescribe an anti-itch cream to take during the blood draw, or a corticosteroid cream if you have a severe itchy rash.
It’s important to note that these creams can cause side effects. Some of these side effects include:
- Increased risk of infection
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Osteoporosis (bone thinning)
- Dry skin
- Allergic reactions
Should you take an anti-itch cream or corticosteroid cream after blood draw?
If you’re experiencing itching after blood draw, you can take an anti-itch cream. An anti-itch cream is a cream that contains a corticosteroid such as hydrocortisone.
Hydrocortisone is a synthetic version of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a natural hormone that helps the body regulate your response to stress.
You can take anti-itch creams before and after blood draws. Examples of anti-itch creams include:
- Hydrocortisone 2.5% ointment (Restasis)
- Hydrocortisone 1% ointment (Cortef)
- Hydrocortisone 1% gel (Cortizone)
If you’re experiencing the following symptoms after blood draw:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Swollen face
You may develop these symptoms if you don’t take an anti-itch cream or hydrocortisone. Examples of these symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Skin rashes
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or think you have a blood clot, you should go to the emergency room right away.
What is the outlook for itchy bumps or rashes after blood draw?
The itchiness after a blood draw usually goes away within a few days. For some people, it may be uncomfortable. If the itchiness is intense, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor may prescribe an anti-itch cream or corticosteroid cream to reduce the itchiness.
If you have any of the following symptoms after blood draw, go to the emergency room right away:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Severe bleeding
- Bleeding gums
- Swallowing difficulty
- Extreme dizziness
- Bleeding into the eyes
A rash is a severe reaction to the blood draw. If you have a rash after blood draw, contact your doctor right away.
What is the link between the blood draw and cancer?
In a 2017 study, researchers reported that the risk of developing cancer during or shortly after a blood draw is very low.
However, if you have cancer or are at high risk of developing cancer, the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) suggests that you still have a blood draw. The AABB recommends that all adults at increased risk of cancer have a blood draw. An increased risk of cancer includes:
- A history of cancer
- A personal or family history of cancer
- A personal or family history of blood clotting disorders
- Chronic kidney disease
- A personal or familial history of hemophilia
However, you should talk to your doctor before having a blood test if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding problems
- A history of a blood clot or stroke
- A family history of blood clots
- A history of bleeding disorders or a blood clotting disorder
- Heart attack
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