THE BLOG

How to Make Blood Sugar Checks Pain-Free

05/04/2011 08:34 pm ET | Updated Jun 27, 2011

Checking your blood sugar should not be painful -- at all. It should not hurt and it should not leave a mark on your finger. In fact, I tell my patients that when they gently (that's a hint) place the lancing device next to their finger and press the trigger, they should hear the click of the device firing and the thought should go through their head, "Hmm, I didn't really feel that, I wonder if I missed?" I mean that. You should never feel the need to flinch, wince or even whine. But everyday, I see people with marks, scars and small bruises all over the tips of their fingers. No need for that.

This is what you do:

1. Try to always poke your fourth or fifth finger on either hand. Make sure your hand is warm. Cold hands do not bleed well at all. If your hands are cold, you will likely have to poke yourself much deeper to get blood.

2. Clean your finger. If your hands are cold, then try washing them with soap and warm water (not hot) to warm them. If your hands are not cold, then alcohol swabs will work fine, as long as you make sure all of the alcohol evaporates before you poke your finger.

3. Then drop your hand between your knees and shake it vigorously. This will accomplish two things: It will help the alcohol evaporate and draw blood down to your fingertips. This is a step that I see people skip quite often.

4. Next, squeeze the base of the finger you plan on poking and gradually, making circular motions, work the blood towards the tip of your finger. Only do this once: Repeated milking of the finger may cause unwanted fluids (extracellular fluids) to mix with the blood that eventually comes out of your finger. This can lead to an erroneous reading.

5. Then adjust your lancing device halfway between the lowest and highest (deepest) setting. Now you are ready to actually poke yourself.

6. Gently, very gently, touch the lancing device against your finger, slightly to the side of center. Press the release button on the lancing device and then take the device away from your finger. If you have done a good job no blood will be visible, yet. Set the lancing device down.

7. Finally, give the base of your finger a little squeeze and viola! Here comes the blood. If you have done a really good job, you will not be able to find where you have poked yourself in an hour or so.

The next time you check your blood sugar try these tips and see if it is a little easier on your fingers.