A hemoglobin test is a blood test that helps doctors check the level of red blood cells. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the different parts of the body.

A hemoglobin test is done to check for low or high levels of red blood cells. It can be done as part of a routine checkup to screen for problems and or because a child isn’t feeling well. When the level of red blood cells is low, it’s called anemia. When the level is high, it’s called polycythemia.

Your child should be able to eat and drink normally unless also getting other tests that require fasting beforehand. Tell your doctor about any medicines your child takes because some drugs might affect the test results. Also, let the doctor know if your child has had a blood transfusion or smokes. These can affect hemoglobin levels.

Wearing a T-shirt or short-sleeved shirt for the test can make things easier for your child, and you also can bring along a toy or book as a distraction.

Hemoglobin is sometimes tested with a “fingerstick” test. The health professional will clean your child’s finger, then prick the tip of it with a tiny needle (or lancet) to collect the blood.

In babies, blood draws are sometimes done as a “heel stick collection.” After cleaning the area, the health professional will prick your baby’s heel with a tiny needle (or lancet) to collect a small sample of blood. (https://kidshealth.org)

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