By riquelskyy Latest Reply 2011-10-07 21:35:48 -0500
Started 2011-09-28 13:35:02 -0500

Okay so I have to admit that I don't wash my hands before testing. I either use hand sanitizer or alcohol swabs. I've read that it's best to use soap an water. Is it bad if you don't? Also what if you don't clean the area that you inject the insulin? Is that bad. Money is tight so buying alcohol swabs is sometimes on the back of the list. If it is a must I'll buy it. What do you think?

9 replies

kdroberts 2011-10-07 21:35:48 -0500 Report

Alcohol dries out the skin and will cause it to crack and possibly get infected. It will cause far more problems long term than it will help with. It's fine for immunizations like the flu shot since they are a once a year or less thing but when you use them multiple times a day it can cause problems quite quickly. Hand sanitizer can be similar depending on what you use since the majority of brands are more or less the same as alcohol wipes. If you are cleaning hands, soap and water is the best option and if you use warm water it will help with getting a good drop of blood for testing. I don't do anything when I test unless my hands are dirty. I think I have around 12,000 tests to my name and not had a problem. I've never used a wipe for insulin shots. I would estimate that I've done over well over 6,000 with no issues.

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-10-01 19:53:25 -0500 Report

I've been testing since 1994 and very rarely wash or swab my finger before I prick it. 17 years and so far so good.

Type1Lou 2011-10-01 17:28:38 -0500 Report

I only use the alcohol pads when I'm away from home. At home, I use rubbing alcohol and cotton balls and I'm such a tightwad that I split each cotton ball into two…don't need that whole big thing to swab one spot!!…but I have to admit, I don't always swab/clean before I do a finger-prick. The alcohol/cotton swab route is also more eco-friendly…no extra wrapping to toss away.

jayabee52 2011-10-01 17:31:51 -0500 Report

EXCELLENT point Lou!

I used the pads because I needed them occasionally in my work as a CNA and I adoped their use when I went from oral pills to injected insulin. Never had really thought to use the cotton balls until recently.

berrykins0 2011-10-01 17:12:56 -0500 Report

i use alcohol pads i get them at walmart for a $1.00 for 90 of them pretty cheap if you ask me. sams club has bigger quanity that pretty cheap to.

Marytea 2011-09-29 08:39:26 -0500 Report

I just use plain old soap and warm water. I buy soap at the 99 cent store and make sure to rinse well. I find alcohol much too drying.

byrun 2011-09-28 13:41:34 -0500 Report

I am pretty sure you should be cleaning the spot before an injection. Would it be less expensive to buy a bottle of alcohol or peroxide and a bag of cotton balls? Would this be an acceptable alternative to alcohol swabs?

jayabee52 2011-09-28 15:22:50 -0500 Report

I have heard this before and don't see any downside to it. The alcohol swabs are mainly a convenience item IMO. But it is best to wash hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly before poking finger.

byrun 2011-09-28 17:27:13 -0500 Report

I do remember, back in our childhood days the nurse would use a cotton ball and antiseptic before giving us our shots.