How to use test strips and glucometers safely

More than 5 million Spaniards suffer from diabetes in Spain, being the glucometer (blood sugar meter) and the reactive strips two more elements of their day to day; and it is that once you have discovered that you suffer from this disease it is vital that you have it under control.

It is necessary to find a balance between what the person eats, takes the medication and the exercise he does to maintain the appropriate level of glucose (sugar) in the blood and that is as close to normal. “It can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes complications, such as nerve, eye, kidney, and vascular damage,” says the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

“For its use, you need these two essential components:

A test strip and a one-man prick. The test strip is where the blood sample is placed so the meter can measure glucose. The puncture will be used to obtain the blood sample, by means of a lancet (needle) that is inside”, specifies the expert.

Specifically, he comments that the most recommended area to get the prick is the distal area of ​​the fingers , just on the side of it, that is, on the sides of the fingertips. It is also noteworthy to vary the puncture area, not always using the same finger . “With some special prickers, the sample can be obtained in other areas,” warns Mangas Fernández.

Good hand hygiene: If we use warm water it will be easier for us.

Prepare the strip in the glucometer. Normally, the part of the strip opposite to where we will place the drop of blood inside the glucometer is inserted. It is not necessary to turn it on, it happens when we place the strip.

Use the puncturer to draw a drop of blood from the lateral distal area of ​​the fingers.

Clean the first drop, especially if at that time we have not been able to wash our hands.

Press to get a second drop of blood again.

Put a drop of blood on the glucogorx test strips connected to the glucometer, simply by bringing the strip close to the drop without pressing against the finger so as not to obstruct the entry of blood.

Test strips cannot be reused

At this point, the diabetes educator at the Endocrinology Service of the Hospital de la Santa Cruz y San Pablo (Barcelona) recalls that test strips cannot be reused, they are for single use, since glucometers are based on a system measurement electrochemical. , that is, in the strips we find enzymes that trigger a chemical reaction for the measurement. “Once they’re used one time, they lose their function,” she warns.

In this context, it as important to highlight the importance of hand hygiene, since previous contact with food or dirty surfaces can modify the result.

“It is not necessary to use alcohol or any other disinfectant.

 It is important to close the vial of strips well for its correct conservation because if they get wet they can give erroneous readings. There are glucometer that are linked to mobile apps , which can make it easier to view results without using a logbook,” he adds.

Finally, the expert from the Spanish Diabetes Society points out with reference to the puncture that we can regulate the intensity of the puncture (stronger or softer); apart from the fact that it is recommended to change the lancet once a week, to reduce pain and preserve the integrity of the fingers.