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We've talked previously about how you can take better care of your skin, but we thought we would do a deep-dive into good practices for testing blood sugars. Today we give you 7-tips for ‘perfect’ testing every time.
Having a testing routine that is safe, reliable, and fast is an integral part of diabetes management. And while nothing is ‘perfect’, you need to find a testing routine that is ‘perfect’ for you.
We know that everyone is unique and the way they manage their diabetes will be too. Depending on how often you test, when you test in the day, and the glucometer/monitoring system you use to check your blood-sugars, will all affect how you choose to test, you just need to find a routine that works for you.
Whether you’ve been testing for a long time or not, the tips below are a great set of steps to reliably test your sugars every time. If when reading this you find yourself thinking: “I don’t know what my testing routine is” or if you’ve never thought about it before, try following the tips below. Even if you decide that a different way is better for you, it’s a good checklist to make sure you aren’t missing anything.
If you do have any tips, or want to tell us about your routine, we would love to hear all about it! Write about it in the comments or on Facebook at the Diabetes Support Port.
1. Clean your skin
If you can, wash your hands with warm soapy water, but then use a cleaning swab or cleaning wipe to clean the area you will be lancing. Make sure you let the area dry completely before testing.
This does two important things. First, it will remove any lingering food or drink residue that may be left on your hands. This is important because any leftover sugar, like the kind found in soft drinks or fruit juice, can directly impact the accuracy of a blood sugar reading.
Second, it can remove harmful bacteria that could otherwise ride your lancet into your bloodstream.
2. Load a new lancet
Make sure you use a new lancet and load it into your lancing device. There are two main reasons to use a new lancet every time you test. Firstly, it is much more hygienic and secondly, it will be less painful. Every use, lancet get duller and you’re more likely to feel it puncture your skin.
3. Prepare a fresh test strip (and close the box!)
Take out a fresh test strip and insert it into your glucometer. Test strips are affected by exposure to the air and ambient temperature so make sure you take out fresh strips as needed and keep the rest of the strips closed tightly in their box/container.
4. Stick your finger (and remember you can vary lancing sites)
Place your preferred area of finger-tip over the lancing device and stick with the lancet. Remember you can usually vary where you lance. For example, you can try lancing the side of your fingertip, or the pad, on different fingers. Just make sure you're testing the correct area on the body according to your glucometer.
5. Collect sample
Collect the drop of blood on the prepared test strip. With time and practice, you will get a better sense of how much blood you need for a reading. However, in modern glucometers, it is usually a fairly small amount, and additional lancing will not be required.
6. Clean up (with the proper equipment)
While it is unlikely you will continue bleeding, you can use pressure to stop the bleeding. Once bleeding has stopped, use a cleaning swab or cleaning wipe to remove any excess blood.
Remember, if you do have any tips, or want to tell us about your routine, we would love to hear all about it! Write about it in the comments or on Facebook at the Diabetes Support Port