To Wash or not wash?

I want to know, for the ones that still prick their fingers:

A> Do ya’ll wash your hands with soap and water before pricking?
B > Do you only rinse your fingers off with warm water before testing?

My mother thinks she knows it all and says SHE DOESN’T have to wash her hands before testing because thats how they do it in the hospital.

So are you A or B ?

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I am A.

Of course.

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There is an option C which is just pricking with no washing or rinsing.

That is what I’ve done probably for 30 years.


I test if I’ve eaten or touched anything. I consciously choose to wash or not wash depending on my activities. If I’ve showered or washed my hands - we still hand wash frequently, whenever coming back into the apartment or handling anything from outside - and haven’t eaten or touched food for a while, which could be for hours, I wouldn’t feel the need to wash. If I’ve recently eaten, handled something questionable, or gotten an unusual reading and I am retesting, then I wash my hands.

BTW, I am not a regular blood meter user. I have a CGM, which I calibrate from time to time, so it is not my primary form of measurement.

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I sometimes wash my hands but will forgo washing if I think my hands are clean. If I get a number that diverges a lot from my CGM, I will wash my hands with soap and water and test again before adding corrective insulin or glucose tablets.

If I didn’t use a CGM, washing hands every time would be the best practice. If your physical symptoms for highs and lows are reliable, you could compare your fingerstick number with your symptoms and take appropriate action.

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Before CGM, when I tested more often, I rarely ever washed my hands before a fingerstick. Only did so when they obviously needed a wash regardless of the fingerstick.

Now that the rare fingerstick is used to calibrate my Dexcom, though, I’ve become a lot more careful. I wash my hands constantly throughout the day, because food prep/preservation is a constant part of our homesteading lifestyle, so I seldom deliberately wash them before a fingerstick now, either as they’re already clean. I do scrub the area pretty vigorously with an alcohol wipe, though, enough to dislodge any contaminants.

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I always figured the blood coming out would clean whatever might have been introduced by pricking my finger so unless it was visibly dirty, didn’t really bother. I also didn’t clean before injecting when on MDI nor would I change my needle each time. (I didn’t, however, inject through clothing. THAT was a bridge too far!)

I do clean my CGM (Dexcom) site and my insulin infusion site before applying them. In part because cleaning off the skin oils allows the devices to stick for the duration.

My hands would have to be dirty for me to wash them soap before testing. I normally don’t wash them or I rinse them especially if I have eaten a glucose tab. I have probably tested my blood a hundred thousand times. If I have a wonky sensor, I test many times. For a normal sensor, I test at least once a day.

If I haven’t rinsed my hand and have been in contact with food, it might change my reading requiring a second test. If my reading is higher than I think it should be I wash my hands with soap and test again.

Your mom’s readings are just higher than they should be.

Hee Hee! Not much you can do about that. I prefer to wash with soap, water and dry throughly before a fingerstick. Any contamination from food or other stuff can affect the accuracy of the results. When I was in hospital they did an alcohol wipe, stabbed my finger with a paring knife to the bone (sarcasm), wiped the blood off and got a second sample. My fingers were really sore by the time I got out, and they didn’t do a good job of managing my BG.

When I need to do a fingerstick away from soap and water, I will vigorously wipe the finger on my shirt or trousers. That seems to work well.

I do use a Dexcom CGM, but when I get a reading that seems wrong, I fingerstick.

If calibrating the CGM is is really good to do two tests and use the average of the two.


I intend to wash my hands but doesn’t always happen.

I think the best thing is to rinse with warm water. You will get the blood flow going and wash off any sugar she might have touched.

This lady needs a CGM. You will both get some rest.

If someone was nagging me to test in a certain way or correcting me, you would get way more blow back than mom appears to be giving you. Let’s be happy she’s testing

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I rarely bg test since cgm, but when I do I only wash (or alcohol wipe) if needed due to eating recent finger foods.

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I am C unless, I get a result I dislike, then i wash and do it again. That has changed the outcome about no times in 30 years.

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I am a 50/50.:+1:t2: If my reading seems off I will wash my hands. Plus if I am working out side or cooking,prevents contamination. I also wash if I am using lotion as my skin is so dry in the winter. Nancy50

I used to wash along with alcohol wipe when first diagnosed. Then never prior to starting dexcom. No issues at all. Dr Bernstein has data on something like 1 million finger sticks across all of his patients, not washing beforehand, and zero infections recorded.

I test 20 times a day I do not typically I driving many time. If I need to wash and I’m home so be it. I also do not use first drop always second drop. It believe it makes a difference.

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Actually C: I do not wash either hands or fingers. Before I had my pump,(c. 1995) I checked CBSs up to 8 times daily for over a decade. I never once had a skin infection. The same has been true for my pump injection site and my dexcom sensors. I shower with soap and water for 10-15 minutes every morning, but do not do any local care prior to changing sensors, tubing or getting capillary sugars when needed for calibration.

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I also usually just prick, but one time, my sugar was 330 mg/dl. Then I washed my hands and retested and got 95 mg/dl (I had something on my finger that the meter read as blood sugar).


I don’t always wash unless my hands/ fingers are dirty. I am constantly washing my hands at home. I often lick my finger to wash and or warm it. For my inr, back on warfarin, I have to wash with hot water to warm up for a much bigger blood drop.

Yup, good to double check those BS that are out of line. I constantly had to do that with One Touch BG meters that are notoriously inaccurate.

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Glucose, fructose and sucrose all react with the strips and will read as glucose.
So if you were eating an apple, your fingers are likely going to have some apple juice on them.

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