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Measuring Your Blood Sugar


First, gather your supplies.

Photo of woman with blood sugar meter and supplies

Gather the things you need to test your blood sugar. This usually includes the meter, needle (lancet) and lancet holder, test strips, and cotton balls.

Learn how to use the equipment.

Photo of woman reading the blood sugar meter instruction booklet

Read the information from the manufacturer and your doctor to be sure you know how to use the blood sugar meter, lancet holder, and test strips.

Then check the expiration date.

Photo of label showing expiration date for test strips

Check the expiration date on your test strips. If you use expired test strips, your test results might not be accurate.

Be sure to match the code numbers.

Photo of matching the code numbers on meter and test strip bottle

Make sure the code number on the bottle of test strips matches the number on your meter. If the numbers don't match, follow the directions that come with your meter for changing the code number.

Wash your hands really well.

Photo of woman washing her hands

Wash your hands with warm, soapy water, and dry them well with a clean towel.

Next, put a clean needle (lancet) in the lancet device.

Photo of putting lancet in lancet device

The lancet device is a pen-sized holder for the lancet. It holds the lancet in place and controls how deeply the lancet goes into your skin.

Get the test strip ready.

Photo of putting test strip into meter

Take one strip from the bottle of test strips. Follow the directions to prepare your meter to receive the blood sample. Don't forget to put the lid back on the bottle right after removing the strip.

Now it's time to prick your finger.

Photo of pricking fingertip with lancet

Use the lancet device to prick the side of your fingertip with the lancet.

Now test a small sample of your blood.

Photo of putting blood drop on test strip

Put a drop of blood on the correct spot of the test strip, covering the test area well.

It's easy to stop the bleeding.

Photo of putting pressure on fingertip to stop bleeding

Using a clean cotton ball, apply pressure to your fingertip to stop the bleeding.

Don't forget to write down your results.

Photo of woman writing down results

Wait for the results. Most meters take only a few seconds to give you the results. Recording your blood sugar results is very important. Your doctor will use your record to see how often your blood sugar levels are in your target range.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last RevisedSeptember 22, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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