What Happens During a BAT Test?


When you consume alcohol it gets absorbed into your bloodstream and your BAC (blood alcohol content) begins to go up. You typically start to see an increase in your BAC over the course of the next fifteen minutes to an hour from when you first started consuming alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your BAC.  Your BAC is typically measured by a BAT. The “BAT” that we are referring to in this blog article is an acronym for the Breath Alcohol Test. The purpose of a BAT is to measure how much alcohol is in the air you breathe out and is a service offering for our employer services/occupational medicine. So, what happens during a BAT? Is the process complex? This blog will tell you just that!

Reasons for a BAT

Normally, if you are getting a BAT done, it’s out of necessity. Some employers require a BAT test to qualify for and maintain your employment with them. It could be that you had alcohol issues in the past, need an employer clearance, or are looking to drive a commercial vehicle. Whatever the reason, we can provide BAT testing as part of our employer services offerings.


Process of Getting a BAT

If you are getting a breathalyzer BAT (electronic test), the process is very simple:

  1. You blow into the designated machine for as long as you are directed to.
  2. The machine will signal for you to stop blowing and it will display your BAC on the screen. 
  3. You may be required to blow into the breathalyzer more than once to get an accurate reading. 

On the other hand, a manual BAT is a little more complex and requires a balloon and a glass tube that is filled with yellow crystals. The steps for a manual BAT test are as follows: 

  1. You blow air into the balloon and release that same air into the glass tube.
  2. A chemical reaction will occur and the color change of the crystals from yellow to green will indicate how much alcohol is in your system.

Surprisingly, this manual BAT test is more affordable than if you were looking to conduct a BAT test at home.

It is important to note that a BAT test isn’t always accurate. Some things that can skew your BAT results are as follows: trace amounts of alcohol in your mouth (if it hasn’t been longer than 15 minutes since you had a drink), smoking, and products that contain alcohol (such as breath fresheners and mouthwash).

Get a BAT Done at Lincoln Urgent Care

At Lincoln Urgent Care, we pride ourselves on being able to provide the best range of employer and occupational services to our patients. We want to be your go-to option for all of your urgent care needs. If for any reason, you need a BAT test, we would be happy to provide these services for you.


Lincoln Urgent Care and Granite Bay Urgent Care are full-service urgent care centers with onsite x-ray and laboratory testing. Our team is dedicated to providing patients with affordable and timely care for their urgent care needs.

Lincoln Urgent Care
77 Lincoln Boulevard Suite 1
Lincoln, CA 95648
Phone: (916) 258-2751
Fax: (916) 258-7172

Granite Bay Urgent Care
5290 Douglas Blvd
Suite 102
Granite Bay, CA 95746
Phone: (916) 570-7265
Fax: (916) 200-2412

As your trusted urgent care clinic, we would like to notify our patients about the Open Payments database put in place by the Medical Board of California as of January 1, 2024.

The federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires that detailed information about payment and other payments of value worth over ten dollars ($10) from manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, and biologics to physicians and teaching hospitals be made available to the public.

The Open Payments database is a national transparency program that collects and publishes information about financial relationships between drug and medical device companies and certain healthcare providers.

For informational purposes, please visit: openpaymentsdata.cms.gov