Diabetes Tip - Soap and water is better than alcohol wipesMany patients ask if they have to use alcohol wipes on their finger before checking their blood sugars like the nurses do at the hospital or clinic. The answer is: No
By: Mary Kay Marciniak, RN, CDE, Pine Journal
Many patients ask if they have to use alcohol wipes on their finger before checking their blood sugars like the nurses do at the hospital or clinic. The answer is: No.
Using alcohol is not necessary before checking your glucose levels. There’s no need to sterilize your finger before pricking it for a blood sugar reading. Washing and drying your hands is enough to remove any food particles, lotions, dirt, or other items that may affect glucose levels, and/or lead to skin infections. Just be sure that there is no soap left on your hands and they are dry.
Here are three reasons why it is better to use soap and water verses alcohol:
1. Home test strips for determining the glucose in your blood have a substance in them that causes glucose to turn into another chemical. Alcohol can destroy this substance and cause a false blood glucose reading.
2. Alcohol dries out your skin and can lead to broken skin near your nails.
3. If all the alcohol doesn’t evaporate before you stick your finger, you may feel stinging as well as the discomfort of the poke.
Mary Kay Marciniak is the director of diabetes education at Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet. She can be contacted at 218-878-7661.