To use your blood glucose meter, you’ll need to start by learning about your test strips!
What are test strips?
Test strips are a tool to help people with diabetes check their own blood sugar. These unique strips are the piece your meter needs to “read” your blood sugar.
A strip will soak up a droplet of your blood. Then a chemical in the strip interacts with your blood and creates a tiny electrical signal. This signal shares information about your blood with your meter so your meter can give you a blood sugar reading.
How to use your strips
- You’ll see a vial of test strips in your diabetes management program Welcome Kit. Check the expiration date to make sure your strips are still fresh. If not, it’s time to order more!
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap. Then dry your hands completely.
- Open the vial and pull out a fresh strip.
- Plug the white end of the strip into the top of your blood glucose meter. This should “wake up” your device if it’s in sleep mode.
- Use your lancing device and a fresh lancet to produce a small drop of blood on your finger.
- Gently touch the tip of your test strip to this drop of blood on your skin. Don’t smear it around. Just let the blood fill the thin chamber in the tip of the strip.
- Follow the meter prompts to share when you last ate and how you’re feeling. Then your meter will display your blood sugar reading.
Where to store your test strips
- Store in a cool, dry place between 2°C and 35°C (36°F and 95°F) and 10%-90% humidity. Keep out of direct sunlight. Do not freeze or refrigerate. Do not store or use the test strips in a humid place such as a bathroom.
- Keep the test strip vial away from children and animals.
- Do not store your strips, lancing device or meter near bleach or cleaners that contain bleach.
- Do not move the test strips to a new vial or any other container.
- Test strips should be kept in their vial. The cap must be tightly closed to keep the test strips fresh.
- Put the cap back on the test strip vial as soon as you take a strip out.
Best practices for using test strips
- Use the test strip as soon as it is taken out of the vial.
- Keep the text side up and blank side down when you insert the strip into the strip port in your meter.
- Trying to insert the same test strip into your meter may cause an error message on your meter.
- Do not use test strips that are torn, bent or damaged.
- Do not reuse test strips.
- Avoid using strips from other companies with your blood glucose meter. Your meter is designed to work with test strips from this program.
- Apply blood only to the tip of the test strip. Do not apply to the long flat surface of the test strip. This may result in a false reading.
- Make sure to talk with your doctor before you change your treatment plan or if the results from your meter don’t seem to match how you feel.
- Your blood glucose meter has not been evaluated for Alternative Site Testing (AST). When testing with your blood glucose meter, only use blood from your fingertips.
- Be careful when you throw away used test strips and lancets. Treat all blood samples as if they are infectious. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to dispose of your strips and lancets.
Timelines to keep in mind
- Do not use test strips after the expiration date that is shown on the vial. Expired test strips may give an incorrect result. (Note: All expiration dates are printed in Year-Month-Day format. 2022-01-30 means January 30, 2022.)
- New vials of test strips are usually good for six months after first being opened. After six months they will expire. Write the date you first opened the vial on the vial itself.
- Each time you get a new vial of test strips, do a control solution test to make sure the new strips work properly.