Changing Lancets for Blood Tests


#1

I have recently read on several forums people saying that they change the lancet in their blood drawing device once a week, once a month, as they change to a new vial of strips (thus, probably after 50 tests), or almost never. This makes me cringe for several reasons.

OK, I admit that I know of no one who actually uses a new lancet each time he or she tests, even though that is what doctors recommend. I also admit that I, myself, change my lancet only once or twice a day (thus, after every 8 - 12 tests). After 50+ years of being diabetic, I understand why people test the way they do. We don’t bother to change the lancet because we are busy and are doing the test quickly, we don’t happen to have a new lancet with us, or we don’t want to change due to cost restrictions.

However, I beg you to please, please, please be aware of the advantages of changing that lancet more often. First (and foremost), do this for your own health and comfort. I won’t preach about cleanliness, but I will speak from experience from decades of testing. Each time you use a lancet for a test, the tip of the lancet curls and the surface gets pitted or “roughed-up” for lack of a better term. After half a dozen tests, the tip is completely curled under, and piercing the skin becomes more difficult, resulting in a bigger hole in your fingertip. Of course, this curled tip also results in a more painful test as more pressure and area are needed to poke through the skin. Using a lancet for days on end will result in more tissue damage and more painful tests as time goes by. After 50+ years of tests, my fingertips are irrevocably damaged. Changing a lancet at least once a day will help you avoid such damage.

Secondly, lancets generally come in boxes of 100, so if I change my lancet just once a day, a box of 100 will last me over three months. I use Freestyle lancets which I can buy for anywhere from $11.00 - $15.00 a box. Even if I were to pay full price for them – which I never do since my insurance covers 80% of the cost – I would only pay $60.00 per year. Compared to the rest of my diabetic supplies, that is a small price to pay to avoid tissue damage and to have a more comfortable test.

I am not a doctor, so I have no idea if using a lancet multiple times has any affect on the accuracy of the blood test results. I would suspect that a “dirty” lancet may eventually do so, but I have no data or proof of that.

However, as a fellow T1 diabetic, I urge you to please consider changing your habits (if you need to) by changing your lancets more often. Living with diabetes is tough enough, and if this simple act will save you both from pain and from future tissue damage, then this small change is worth it.


#2

LOL! Most of us old-time diabetics rarely change lancets. Newly dx’d likely change theirs a lot.

I change mine more often, now that I have a Fast Clix, as all I have to do is push a lever and it advances to a new lancet, using a drum of 6 lancets, held in the tip of the lancet device. Very handy. I used to go many months, no infections or dullness. I have a hard time believing that those steel tips are so wimpy that my fingertips are doing them any appreciable damage, given that they still feel sharp after more than 1000 tests. Actually way more, as I’ve averaged 15-17 tests per day until getting a CGM.


#3

I change my lancet frequently because I have very fine gauge lancets (33) and if I use them more than a half a dozen times it will barely work and I’ll just be hurting myself for nothing. And they only cost about $7 for a box of 100 on Amazon.


#4

I try to follow the same advice of when they tell you to change the batteries in your smoke detector. Every time it switches to or from daylight savings time, I change those batteries and also change the lancet.


#5

You would be surprised at how much even the steel tips curl and wear down after multiple uses. If you are an “old-time diabetic” then I would guess that your fingertips already have seen their share of abuse from years of tests.

I am glad that the Fast Clix works well for you!


#6

Wow! once every six months? I would hate to be your fingertips. My fingertips are so damaged just from years of tests that I no longer have discernible fingerprints. I told my husband perhaps I should take up a life of crime since I would leave no recognizable finger prints. Then I decided that I was too old and too lazy to start a new career…:slightly_smiling_face:


#7

I’ve been testing 15-17 times per day since the 1980’s and my fingerprints are fine. I’ll post a photo in a bit to prove my point.

That is the finger (right index) that I use to unlock my Samsung phone and if it’s good enough for a finger-print reader, it’s fine for all intents and purposes.

Sure there are a few spots on it from dirt getting into the punctures, but after poking my fingers since the 1980’s over 200,000 times, I’d say the damage is very minimal. Of course, I spread out the finger sticks across all fingers, but I don’t do my thumbs.

Part of my point is that we are different. :slight_smile:


#8

Interestingly, my fingerprints will unlock my iPhone, but they wouldn’t register for TSA. I had to use my unpricked thumbs for them.


#9

What is the registration for? Getting thru security with less scrutiny? (I forgot the name of that program)


#10

Yes. CLEAR registration, so.I can skip the security line.

Good old USA - the more you pay, the less they scrutinize you.


#11

Only change after 50 strips. Been doing it so long, I don’t really think about it.


#12

Ditto.

image


#13

I used to have difficulty changing mine more than about once per year. Then I went to the FasClix which I love. These days I change nearly every time. I have never felt waiting one year was to few, or that changing every time is too much.

But I have to admit every time is pretty sweet.


#14

This is one of those topics that either you are on board or you are not. I was one of those who changed it when I thought about it, which wasn’t very often. But after reading the blog sixuntilme and I saw the pictures of what a needle looks like after one use let alone 6, it is scary and frightening. And I guess there really shouldn’t be an issue with changing since they are so darn cheap. I am still pretty darn lazy about it even with those pictures in my head but I have made a baby step. I change mine every 3 days when I change my infusion set. Maybe one day those frightening pictures will sink in and I will change after each use!


#15

Yes, I have seen pictures of used fine-gauge needles with the tip curled. The structure of most lancets, however, is not so delicate. A lancet tip is fashioned from a relatively larger stock metal shaft and comes to a fairly blunt, yet sharp, tip. I believe that this structural difference allows those of us who seldom change lancets to keep getting effective service.

I am in the camp that changes my lancet a few times per year. I have no excuse not to change more often as I use the MultiClix device with the drum of six lancets. My fingertips do show caluses but I’m now testing many times less than I used to. Up until about a year ago, I checked my BG on average 15 times per day for decades. Now I check one or two times on a typical day but up to seven or eight when needed.

I see this as a personal preference item.


#16

I saw pics like that more than a decade ago and I still don’t care. :slight_smile:


#17

What Terry said!!!

Like I said earlier, I’m over 200,000 finger pokes so far, and no infection. Isn’t it hard to argue with a lack of problems? :slight_smile:

Also, for those worried about the tip’s sharpness and also about cleanliness, you would have to both wash your hands (don’t use alcohol!), and change the lancet. How does that work when you are out and about, leading your life? I could see me doing that when climbing up a mountain path. Not going to happen! I just whip out the meter, stick in a strip, poke finger, and get the reading. Until I got a CGM, I tested at least 15x a day. For those who test VERY SELDOM, I guess it’s no biggie to go through a bunch of rigamarole.


#18

If you have been a Type 1 for a year and you don’t know how to give yourself a shot or use a lancet almost painlessly, you’re doing it wrong!


#19

Yes, we are all different. My fingertips look about the same, but I am unable to unlock my phone through prints, and the TSA could not do a finger-print check on my to give me pre-TSA approval. They had to do a background check instead.

I am glad that things are working well for you.


#20

I’m surprised it interferes with people’s fingerprints, but then I only use my ring and middle fingers and I avoid the pad and entirely use the sides of the top, so I have two callused depressions on either side of each, but the pad is entirely intact. I usually use my thumb and index finger to unlock my phone, and testing with either of those is very unappealing to me since they are more sensitive.

I definitely notice a difference when I change my lancet in terms of how effective it is, so I buy that it eventually wears down and dulls. That doesn’t really get me to change it very often though, since it works well enough, and still doesn’t hurt much either way.