Top 4 Tips for Correctly Checking Your Blood Sugar
Many newly diagnosed diabetes patients are overwhelmed by the idea of checking their blood sugar regularly. Unfortunately, not all patients are provided education in correctly checking blood sugar.
Here, we present the top four tips for correctly checking your blood sugar to ensure the safest, most accurate reading:
1) Wash your hands with warm soapy water AND use an alcohol prep wipe before you do your finger stick. Why? Using warm water helps increase the circulation to your fingers so you get an adequate blood drop. The mechanical action of washing/scrubbing your hands is the BEST way to ensure they are free of germs. The alcohol pad will remove any leftover germs after washing your hands.
2) Use only the sides of the fingers rather than the finger pad. Why? Because using the finger pad can make it difficult to stick all the way through as the skin is thicker and the blood vessels are further down. Additionally, using the pad of the finger causes more pain as there are more nerves in there that are very sensitive.
3) Wipe away the first blood drop, lightly squeeze the finger, and use the second drop of blood to put on your test strip. Why? The first drop of blood could be contaminated with oils and/or sugars from your skin if you did not wash your hands thoroughly enough before sticking. These oils and sugars can give you a false high reading, sometimes as much as a hundred points off from the actual number.
4) Change your lancet before each use. Why? Every time you use the lancet, the edge of the needle gets dull, which makes it more difficult to get through the skin and get a proper blood drop. Additionally, after you perform the stick with the lancet, the needle is contaminated and therefore if you reuse it, you have a risk of two things:
- Receiving a false reading due to a contaminated sample from the sugars, oils, and germs that are on your skin, and
- You put yourself at risk of developing an infection from any germs that may be on the needle as you are sticking it into your bloodstream
These tips are important for everyone, but they are especially important for patients who must administer insulin. The insulin dose is based on your current number, so it is important that your number be as accurate as possible to avoid an overdose of insulin that will result in a blood sugar crash that is difficult to correct with carbohydrates.
Please keep these things in mind as they are for your safety.