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Question:
Do you have any information on non-invasive glucose testing technologies? My son is 3 years old and has just been diagnosed. The finger pricks are really bothering him.

Answer:
Non-invasive glucose testing technologies are coming, but slower than we want! See Non-invasive Blood Glucose Meters for information about some of the devices under development. But until they're cheaper, more reliable, smaller, and a hundred other problems solved, we'll still have to recommend fingersticks to check the blood sugar level.

Fingersticks bother everybody! Here are several tips to decrease the frustration:

  • Don't bother with alcohol on the skin before the fingerstick. It stings, if the skin's still wet from the alcohol when the puncture occurs. And the alcohol toughens the skin tissues after repeated use. And it doesn't kill enough germs anyway. But it will remove a layer of grime, which is sometimes a necessity for parential peace-of-mind when helping little kids check their sugar level.

  • If the hands are dirty, wash with soap and warm water first. Warm water will also increase the blood flow.

  • Make it a game, that the child can participate in: what sort of rewards can you think of for doing your own testing? Use finger puppets after the stick; find some super-snazzy Band-Aids that your child likes to put on "the spot."

  • Use a meter that's easy for your child to manipulate. Talk to your Diabetes Team about this, and let your son try them out in the doctor's office. And read the reviews of blood test meters, which rate the meters in terms of usefulness for littler kids.

  • Let the child choose the finger for the stick. Second choice is as good as first choice, by the way.

  • Give your son time-off for good behavior: how about a vacation from testing now and then as a reward for cooperative testing the rest of the time?

  • Use one of the smaller lancets available today, such as the BD-UltraFine or the Cleanlet Kids.

  • Use one of the new meters that require very little blood, such as the Glucometer Elite or the Precision QID. You won't need to milk the fingers quite as much to get a sample.

Hopefully, someday soon we'll be able to look back at those primitive days in the early 1990's, when doctors advised patients to get blood from a fingerstick to analyze the state of the diabetes, just as we now look back at the primitive days in the 1980's and before, when doctors advised patients to get a urine sample to analyze the diabetes!

Original posting 9 Jan 96

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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