Painless Blood Sugar Testing
If you learned how to test your blood sugar in the hospital or from a nurse in your doctor's office who doesn't themselves have diabetes, you may have been taught the wrong technique for testing and may be causing yourself unnecessary pain.
Here are some tips about how to test painlessly drawn from my own experience and that of people who have posted on this topic on the alt.support.diabetes newsgroup over the past decade.
Where to Test
The least painful spot to do a blood sugar test is on the side of your finger. Do not
test on the pad of the finger. That hurts!
Many of us find that our pinkies have the best blood flow. I only use my pinky and ring fingers on both hands for testing.
Dr. Bernstein recommends using the top of the finger, underneath the nail. For me, that location hurts.
Be sure to adjust the depth of your lancet to the shallowest depth before you test. That is usually 1 on most lancets. If that setting it is too shallow to draw blood, adjust it up one notch and try again. As you get callouses on your fingers from testing, you may need to adjust the depth again.
What About Testing on Your Arm?
When you test your arm rather than your finger tip, the reading you get will lag about 15 minutes behind the reading you would have gotten at your finger tip. This means arm testing is worthless for detecting hypos
I have found it hurts more
to test on my arm than on the sides of my fingers.
Alcohol Toughens Skin
There is no need to dab your skin with alcohol before testing. Dr. Bernstein reports that neither he nor his patients have ever developed infections after testing without alcohol. I have not used alcohol for nine and a half years and have never developed an infection from a blood test either.
The use of alcohol over time will dry out and toughen your skin, making it harder to draw blood. If your hand is dirty, wash it. If you see an unexpectedly high reading wash your hand and try again. A tiny bit of glucose on your finger can cause dramatically high readings.
You Can Reuse Your Lancet
If you are the only person using your lancet device there is no need to use a fresh lancet for each test. I change mine about once a month. Some people report changing theirs even less frequently.
Never Share A Lancet!
If someone else is going to use your lancing device--for example a relative interested in knowing whether their blood sugar is high after a meal--you must give them a fresh lancet and dispose of it immediately after they use it to avoid transmitting any blood borne diseases--including ones neither of you may be aware exist. Never violate this policy!
Disposal of Test Strips
Blood products are considered medical waste. If you don't have access to a red bio-waste container, make one out of an old detergent bottle. When it is filled, tape the top closed and mark the container "Caution: Medical Waste." Then dispose of it according to your local trash ordinances. Here is a link that shows you some of the inexpensive medical waste disposal units you can buy: Sharps Disposal Units Available on Amazon
By the way, if you need to dispose of needles, the Safe-Clip Syringe Needle Clipper - Syringe Disposal
is the way to go. One will last you a year or more. It is small enough to put in your purse or pocket when you travel.