Laboratory tests are often used by doctors to confirm a suspected diagnosis or to understand more clearly what’s going on in the body. lab testing is a routine procedure in medicine, especially in pediatrics since children are not always able to voice their concerns and express their symptoms.
Lab testing can be demanding and expensive, but the team at Pediatrics of Sugarland is available to make your experience as perfect as possible. You can contact us today to book your appointment!
The value of lab testing and how to overcome them
What are laboratory tests?
– Blood: the most common, can give an idea about different health parameters.
– Urine: especially useful in case of urinary tract infections or kidney failure.
– Mucus or phlegm: in case of recurring or resistant respiratory infections, can give an idea about the exact pathogen responsible for the infection.
– Stool: in case of a digestive tract infection, especially if it’s resistant to antibiotics or if parasites are suspected.
– Cerebrospinal fluid: if an infection of the central nervous system is suspected.
When is lab testing necessary?
– Children, especially younger infants, cannot clearly express their symptoms or describe their discomfort.
For these reasons, pediatricians often will need lab tests to figure out what’s going on and to fully evaluate the gravity of the situation. Examples of common lab tests include:
– Blood cell count and hemoglobin test: to look for various blood disorders like anemia, certain blood clotting conditions, immunodeficiency or leukemia, thalassemia, or sickle cell disease.
– Metabolic profile: includes blood glucose and a lipid profile, especially helpful in children who are at risk of or who have already developed obesity.
– Screenings for different allergies or intolerances (like celiac disease).
– Screening for rare genetic conditions such as hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, spinal muscle atrophy…
– To specify the germ responsible for an infection and which antibiotics to use.
Is pediatric lab testing different from adult lab testing?
Lab testing is a routine part of any medical practice, but when it comes to the pediatric population, the care and supervision of a specialized medical team are necessary, for many reasons:
– Pediatric lab testing requires an exact knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of children’s veins and other blood vessels. Additionally, children’s veins are smaller and more fragile and thus require special small tools adapted to the child’s age.
– Children are scared of needles and are unlikely to remain still at the time of the sample collection. An experienced team will be able to calm the child down and keep him or her still.
– Urine samples can be tricky to collect in young infants who still use diapers, hence the use of special catheters or dressings that need to be inserted or placed by a pediatrician.
– Special precautions may be necessary, especially to prevent infection after taking a sample, or in children with preexisting conditions like immune deficiencies or blood clotting disorders.
How can I make the experience more pleasant for my child?
Lab testing can be a difficult, expensive and stressful experience for both the parents and the child. But thankfully, there are some ways to make the child feel better before, during, and after the procedure.
– Before the procedure:
The parents need to remain calm, as the child will be able to sense the parents’ stress and worry. Words of encouragement and praise are also helpful and will allow the child to feel like a brave hero or soldier on a way to complete a mission.
– During the procedure:
The parents’ presence can help calm the child down. Parents are also welcome to help the medical team physically keep the child still if he or she becomes agitated.
– After the procedure:
Positive reinforcement cues can be helpful to prevent the child from becoming traumatized and to change his or her experience from negative to somewhat positive. To do so, it can be useful to allow the child to choose his or her own bandage, to offer a treat, or even a gift after the procedure is complete.