Preparing a blood glucose meter for use

Blood testing strips vary from batch to batch (they may contain different amounts of chemicals), so you need to calibrate most meters every time you start a new pack of strips to obtain an accurate result. Testing your meter at least once a month with a quality control solution (which contains a known amount of glucose) will enable you to check that your machine is measuring blood glucose correctly.

1. If your meter has a coding chip provided with the strips, insert the chip into the slot on the meter. If it has a coding strip, insert this into the meter, then remove it once the code has been registered. If it has a code button, insert the strip, then press the button until the code matches the one on the new pack of strips.
2. When you insert a test strip, compare the code number on the display with the number printed on the test strip container. The two numbers must be identical. If they are not identical, repeat the above coding procedure until the correct code number is displayed.
3. To test using the quality control solution, apply the solution to the test strip in the same way as you would apply your blood, then compare the control solution result with the range printed on the test strip or control solution packet. The result will fall within this range if your meter is reading accurately.

Obtaining a blood sample

Blood tests form part of your day-to-day routine when you have diabetes. Although your finger is the most common site to use, you can also test blood from your forearm, the palm of your hand, or your abdomen – if your equipment is designed to test blood from these sites. Following these stops will help ensure that you get an accurate reading from your blood glucose test.

• Wash your hands and then rub them to increase your circulation. Put a fresh lancet into your lancing device and remove its disposable cap. Replace the lancing device’s cover and turn the dial to set your preferred depth level. Switch on your blood glucose meter, or insert the test strip into your meter to switch it on.
• Put your lancing device firmly against the side of the tip of your finger. Press the button on the side or end of the device to fire the lancet. Move the lancing device away from your finger and wait a few seconds for the blood to flow.
• If a drop of blood doesn’t appear, apply pressure to the base of your finger to assist your blood flow. If you still can’t get enough blood, start again using another finger and a new test strip, and increase the depth setting if necessary.
• When you have enough blood, apply it to the pad on the end of the testing strip. Depending on the type of strip, wait 5-45 seconds for your meter to display your blood glucose level. Dispose of your lancet and strip in a recommended sharps box.

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