Painless Pricks

[The following advice for painless testing is included here with permission from Alan S, a well known regular on the newsgroup alt.support.diabetes.]

One of the common objections to testing blood glucose more frequently is a fear of pain from testing. If you are suffering pain when you test - then you are doing it incorrectly.

This is some advice I passed on to some friends, based on my own experience. As always, check with your doctor if in any doubt.

Wash your hands in warm water first, and shake them to get the circulation going. Check your lancet - it should be adjustable. Mine is Soft-clix, made by Roche and is usually painless. I get an occasional tiny sting, and it lets me know if it's getting blunt sometimes, but I've tested over 5000 times in the past 4 years without any trauma. That's from a guy who was, and is, needle-phobic.

Start with the second lowest setting (1 or 1.5), hold it firmly against your skin on the side of a finger near the tip. Don't flinch when you release the button. The button releases a spring-loaded tiny needle which makes a tiny hole in your skin and instantly retracts. Incidentally, using the sides has two advantages - there are less nerve-ends than on the pads, and it doubles the number of test-points so you can rotate through the positions.

Massage gently (milking a cow) until a drop of blood forms sufficient to put on the test strip. If this setting doesn't provide an adequate quantity, move the lancet setting up one notch for the next one. If you got a large sample and it hurt a little, go to the lower setting.

And that's all there is to it. Sometimes it helps to shake your hands a little more, or warm them up if it's cold. The manufacturers advise changing the lancet needle every time; I change mine when I remember or if it gets a bit blunt. You do what you are comfortable with, subject to doctor's orders.

Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia.
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