Make sure your meter is coded or calibrated to the current batch of strips you are using.
|During the manufacturing process, each batch of strips is subjected to slight differences, such as temperature and humidity. The strips are assigned a code number to inform your blood glucose meter of these differences. If your meter is coded incorrectly, your blood glucose result may be inaccurate. Most new machines now available do not require calibration and likely will not need to be coded. Please see your Safeway Diabetes Meter Technician to ensure your meter is coded correctly.|
Store your glucose strips and your glucose meter at room temperature away from humidity, cold and direct sunlight.
|All of these factors can influence your reading.|
Change the batteries as soon as the warning indicator appears on the meter.
|You usually need to do this at least once or twice a year, depending on how frequently you test. Once the battery indicator appears, only a few tests remain before the meter will not operate at all. Call the 1-800 number on the back of your meter to have an extra battery shipped to you. Most companies provide them at no charge.|
Replace the cap on the container immediately after removing a strip.
|This keeps moisture out. Most strips come in containers. However, a few are packaged individually to prevent moisture problems. In this case, remove the strip from the packaging immediately before doing the blood test.|
Once each year, check the accuracy of your blood glucose meter by comparing its readings with those from a lab.
Pull out the control solution.
If you suspect your glucose readings are not accurate, test using the control solution for your specific glucose meter. Using control solution instead of blood helps to decide whether the strips are working properly. Before doing a control solution test, check its expiry date. Once opened, the control solution is only good for three months or until the expiry date, whichever comes first. Be sure to shake the solution well before using. Mark the new expiry date on the bottle of control solution when you open it.
If the control test does not fall in the range specified on the strip container, check a few things. First, look at the expiry date of your strips. Next, repeat the test with a new batch of strips from a freshly opened package. If the test is still out, this may indicate a problem with the meter (rather than the strips). You may need to replace the meter. Call the toll-free number on the back of the meter or bring it into your Safeway Pharmacy for replacement. Control solutions cannot substitute for lab meter checks (see point #5), but can show whether the strips and meter are working correctly.
Wash your hands in warm, soapy water prior to testing.
|This increases blood flow to the fingers. It also removes sugar or other substances on your skin that might affect the glucose reading. Avoid using alcohol swabs, since alcohol can dry the skin. This may lead to cracks that can easily become infected.|
Always choose a different site or finger to poke for your test.
|Use skin on the sides of your fingers to acquire that small amount of blood that you will need to perform a reading. Avoid calluses. Change your lancet (the tiny needle which pokes the finger) after each use. This makes it easier and much less painful to acquire a sample. Think of poking a piece of paper with a sewing needle compared to with a bobby pin. Since it is blunt, the bobby pin is difficult to poke through the paper and makes a much larger hole. The same thing happens to a lancet that is not changed after each use. It becomes very dull, making it painful and damaging to the skin. Note the depth setting on your lancing device and adjust it accordingly.|
Clean your meter every three to six months if required, depending on how often you test.
|Most meters do not require cleaning, but a few do. Use a soft damp cloth to remove any dirt or blood from your meter.|
Review your technique.
|See the diabetes meter technician at your Safeway Pharmacy or diabetes education centre.|
Consider updating your meter about every two to three years.
|Most meters are accurate for much longer, but meter and strip technology changes much more frequently. It is worth checking for improvements such as needing less blood, improved features, and smaller meters.|
Remember, blood glucose levels change frequently throughout these day. They depend on what and when you last ate. Blood glucose levels are affected by certain medications and also change when you are not feeling well. Physical activity can change your blood glucose levels. Keep all your values recorded in a logbook. Follow up with your health care provider when your blood glucose levels fall outside your target levels.