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From Pennsylvania, USA:

I have a question concerning daily blood checks. My daughter is 7 and was diagnosed 4 months ago. We check her blood four times daily. We use a major brand name monitor and the finger poking device that came with it. On most days, one finger stick is sufficient to produce a drop of blood large enough for the meter reading. On other days, we can poke the fingers 10 or more times and not be able to obtain enough blood. We have tried soaking her hands in warm water, exercising her arms beforehand, and changing the depth of the finger-stick device. Another problem that occurs is that there is enough blood but it is very thin (almost watery). Her hands are completely dry and regardless of how many fingers you try, on some days, the blood is too watery to register on the meter. Do you have any idea what causes these problems? Could it be a change in the environment (temperature) or some type of change within her body?


If you are able to review your technique with a diabetes educator I would do so. He or she may be able to help you obtain an adequate sample more reliably. This process needs to be seen rather than described to be helpful.

Some common errors that I see are: holding the finger "up" rather than "down" to let gravity help. Some people inadvertently pull their finger away as they are pressing the button on the lancet device (to get around this place your hand against your lap or something where you can't pull it away). Try to be consistent about how far you push the lancet into the device. Don't touch the strip of your meter until you have an adequate drop. If the blood is running down the finger and not in a drop, wipe the finger with a clean tissue (not alcohol) and get a better drop.

You might try a different lancet device. There are also meters which require smaller samples of blood, and on which you apply the blood differently.

Concerning the "watery" sample: Do make sure that the finger is completely dry before poking with the lancet, as water or alcohol will dilute the sample and give a false result.


Original posting 3 Jun 1998
Posted to Blood Tests and Insulin Injections


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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