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A Directory of Medical Tests

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Taking a medical history and performing a physical examination usually provide the information a doctor needs to evaluate a child's health or to understand what's causing an illness. But sometimes, doctors need to order tests to find out more.

Here are some common tests and what they involve:

Blood Tests

Blood tests usually can be done in a doctor's office or in a lab where technicians are trained to take blood. When only a small amount of blood is needed, the sample can sometimes be taken from a baby by sticking a heel and from an older child by sticking a finger with a small needle.

If a larger blood sample is needed, the technician drawing the blood will clean the skin, insert a needle into a vein (usually in the arm or hand), and withdraw blood. In kids, it sometimes takes more than one try. A bandage and a cotton ball or swab will help stop the flow of blood when the needle is removed.

Blood tests can be scary for kids, so try to be a calming presence during the procedure. Holding your child's hand or offering a stuffed animal or other comforting object can help. Tell your child that it may pinch a little, but that it will be over soon. With younger kids, try singing a song, saying the alphabet, or counting together while the blood is being drawn.

Common blood tests include:

Pregnancy and Newborns Tests

State requirements differ regarding tests for newborns and pregnant women, and recommendations by medical experts are often updated. So talk with the doctor if you have questions about what's right for you.

Radiology Tests

Other Tests

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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