Sample type needed

Blood

Incubation period 

Test dependent

Who is this test suitable for?

Men and Women

Results time 

Test dependent but generally within 1-3 days from when your sample is received in the lab

Treatment

Most infections and disorders can be treated effectively

Where can I get tested?

All Better2Know centres

What is Blood Testing?

Blood testing is any test that uses a blood sample to identify infection or illness. Human blood is a complex material which contains a variety of different cells. These different cells are carried around the body by a liquid which is commonly called Plasma or Serum. The difference between these two materials is that Serum is Plasma that has had clotting factors removed from it. Serum makes us around 55% of your blood. It is mainly made of water and surrounds all the cells to help carry them around your body.

The different cells in your blood are red blood cells that carry oxygen to your muscles and organs, five different kinds of white blood cells (Lymphocytes, Monocytes, Basophils, Eosinophils and Neutrophils) and finally platelets. The white blood cells are all involved in your immune system fighting infections and keeping your body healthy. Your white blood cells make Antibodies that many Blood tests can identify, signaling infection. Platelets play a key role in stopping bleeding when you get cut or injured. All of these different cells exist together in a normal proportion one to the other. Changes in the concentration of one cell type to the others are good indicators of infection or disease. Blood tests that look at these different kinds of cells and their relative numbers are therefore excellent indicators if something is wrong.

Dissolved in the Plasma are all the different chemicals and proteins that your body requires to work properly. Again, all of these dissolved chemicals should be present in a given proportion one to the other and any imbalances to the proportion of these dissolved chemicals can be excellent indicators of illness or disease.

Many different viruses and bacteria can also be carried around the body in the blood. These blood infections can be very serious and make you very ill. This is why it is so important to get the correct blood tests to quickly identify any viral or bacterial infections in your blood. Viruses including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Herpes Simplex 1 and 2, Cytomegalovirus, Influenza virus, Viral Meningitis, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and many others can all be identified with blood tests and treated. If many of these infections are not treated, they can develop into serious and life threatening conditions.

How do I know if I have a problem?

Different viral infections often share the same symptoms if any present. Symptoms are not, however, a good way to decide if you should get tested. It is usually better to think about your behaviors and experiences and decide if you might have been exposed to any viral infection. If you think there is a chance, then it is very important that you get a blood test. Blood tests are quick and easy and very accurate. You will know if there is a problem within a day or two of getting your blood test.

If there are symptoms, they may include:

Symptoms of Viral and Bacterial Blood Infection in Men and Women

  • Fever / Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Weakness
  • Neck stiffness
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Back pain
  • Loss of sensation
  • Impaired bladder and bowel function
  • Sleepiness that can progress into a coma or death
Did you know? …

The first blood tests for Hepatitis B were performed in 1971 and the first tests for HIV were in 1985. These two breakthroughs marked the start of our deeper understanding of these two viruses and also the moment when blood supplies around the world became safer to transfuse..

How can I get blood infections?

Bacteria and viruses are all around us. Bacteria generally get into our bodies though cuts, scrapes or when we swallow them or breathe them in. Viruses can enter our bodies the same way but both can also can infect us from physical contact with other infected people. Usually our immune system will keep us safe but some bacteria and viruses cannot be eliminated by our immune cells and they then can become dangers and even life threatening infections. The earlier these infections are identified with appropriate blood testing the faster they can be treated.

What happens if I do not get a blood test?

When infections are left untreated they generally get worse. Sometimes the body will be able to heal itself but other times it cannot and the infections develop. Depending on what has caused the infection different effects can be suffered. It is always advised to get a blood test if you are worried about infection so that quick treatments can be arranged.

How do I get tested?

Blood testing is quick, easy and fast. A doctor or nurse will usually take a small sample of blood from your arm with a very thin needle. This is generally quite painless and is the best way to get the blood sample needed. Your blood will be collected in a special blood testing tube that is completely sealed and will be sent to our accredited testing laboratory for analysis. The blood testing tubes already contain the necessary preservatives to keep your blood sample in perfect condition during transport to our lab. On arrival, our Laboratory will either test the whole blood, or will separate it into its components for testing depending on the blood tests that have been ordered. Results will be available within just a few days.

Viral and bacterial blood infections can be very dangerous and early detection is the key to successful treatments. If you have any concerns about viral or bacterial blood infections, then book your blood tests now.