Expert Linda Siminerio Gives Advice About Home Blood Glucose Monitoring

Expired test strips? Best to throw them out, says Siminerio.
Linda Siminerio, RN, PhD, is a certified diabetes educator, the executive director of the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute, and a past editor in chief of Diabetes Forecast.

Q: Can products like skin cream affect my reading?

A: Yes, they certainly can. Lotions, creams, and other substances on your hands can cause your meter to give an inaccurate reading. Even handling a sandwich can leave glucose on your fingertips, which would provide an abnormally high reading when you draw blood from your finger.

Q: How often should I test my blood sugar?

A: That's an individual issue that you should decide with your health-care team. Some people—like those with type 1 diabetes or people with type 2 who are using insulin—need to test more frequently than people who are handling their type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes or oral medications. Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about how often and when to test your blood sugar.

Q: Can I reuse lancets?

A: You shouldn't. People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing infections, especially if their blood sugar is out of control, and using the same lancet to poke yourself multiple times exposes you to germs. In addition, you don't want to accidentally jab yourself—or allow others to do so—on your used lancets. So use a lancet once, then dispose of it safely.

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Lead Writer: Linda Siminerio, RN, PhD
Last Updated: May 07, 2008

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