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Question:

From East Patchogue, New York, USA:

I have had IDDM Type 1 for 18 years, diagnosed when I was 7 years old. I just started Physician Assistant school and want to know what other health professionals with diabetes do about blood testing. I currently test 3-6 times/day in my fingers. This leaves micro-lesions in my skin. Do I wear gloves or double gloves with all patients? Or do I start testing in my ears? Testing in my toes does not seem practical or efficient. Any recommendations?

Answer:

You should use the thinnest lancing device possible. BD microlancets are the smallest gauge. If you want an even thinner needle, you can use the needle on a 30 gauge insulin syringe. With practice, you can get a very small drop of blood. Obviously, you only stick yourself with the tip of the needle and can't use a lancing device.

If your fingers are not bleeding, you should not have to use gloves for a simple examination. If you are doing any procedures where you might be exposed to the patient's blood, or you could potentially expose a patient to your blood (palpating an open lesion or mucus membranes), you should wear gloves. If you are a known carrier of an infection spread by contamination of the blood (AIDS, hepatitis), or in a high risk group for being infected, you should speak to an infectious disease specialist. People with chapped hands in the winter (with or without diabetes) can also have areas that bleed with handwashing. You should not have to take any more precautions than someone whose hands chap with the frequent hand washing required before and after each patient for any health professional.

Good luck in your career!

TGL

Original posting 24 Dec 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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