To soap up or not soap...... That's the question

By luked Latest Reply 2012-10-08 03:53:53 -0500
Started 2012-09-29 06:48:48 -0500

Hi everyone,

I'm having a bit of a debate with the nurse at my PCP's office. She wanted to take my sugar today and came at me with an alcohol swab for my finger. I said, 'Let me do this, I do it every day' so I went to the sink to wash up. She said, 'You can just use the hand sanitizer.' I told her in my diabetes education class (admittedly, a farce, since they told us that 200 is not "that bad" a number) I was taught that using alcohol or sanitizer would throw the real results off and to only use soap and water when I test. Nurse Ratchett says she was taught otherwise in med. assistant school.

Does anyone have an opinion on which way is best to prep your finger?

Tags: general

17 replies

vgarrison 2012-10-08 02:49:54 -0500 Report

I use soap and water…sometimes I test at a restaurant or at work, and while there isn't always alcohol wipes at places, there usually is soap and water…and now that winter is coming and we are more prone to cold hands and feet, using warm water with soap helps to get the blood flowing better for easier testing…

JSJB 2012-10-08 03:53:53 -0500 Report

Stopped using alcohol wipes and went to soap and water. My FBG readings improved so now no soap just hot water.

mystikfairy61 2012-10-02 01:40:29 -0500 Report

Although working in a lab for almost 20 years where I used alcohol pads to do finger sticks, I now just wash my hands with soap and water. Don't want my numbers to have any reason to be higher.

IronOre 2012-10-01 12:26:51 -0500 Report

It wasn't too long ago (Feb, 2012) that a specific brand of alcohol wipes got recalled, which were linked to eight deaths.
End of story.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-09-30 22:32:19 -0500 Report

I just got a new meter two weeks ago, and the directions said to wash hands with soap and water and dry completely. I don't use alcohol anyway as it dries my skin and I already fight to keep my skin soft.

Triskit 2012-09-30 20:30:59 -0500 Report

The makers of most glucose meters also recommend not using alcohol swabs prior to testing because it can skew readings. I've been diabetic for over 20 yrs and never use alcohol swabs before testing, just soap and water. I only use swabs prior to changing my pump infusion site.

Gracie40 2012-09-30 12:40:00 -0500 Report

Soap and water is the best. A doctor told me once that you can't expect that little swipe with an alcohol pad to "sterilize" the site before you test. I've actually done both, and prefer the soap and water to Acohol swab. Just one more thing to dispose of. And I have heard that acohol can skew your B.S. results.

luked 2012-09-30 11:29:03 -0500 Report

I just rinse good and rub dry with a terry towel. I don't wash with soap unless I know there's something on my hands like lotion or grease (although I wouldn't think grease would skew the reading).

From what I've read, regular use of alcohol will toughen the skin.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-09-29 18:12:31 -0500 Report

I use soap and warm water to get the blood flowing better in my fingers. I found that alcohol and hand sanitizer(it contains alcohol) changes the numbers because the blood picks up the alcohol and sanitizer residue on your fingers.

JSJB 2012-09-29 16:00:01 -0500 Report

Great question. I've been using soap and water then a alcahol swab before testing. Maybe I will just try the soap and hot water then test.

Kirla 2012-09-29 12:03:40 -0500 Report

I use the prick and test method. Been doing fine for over 3 years. If hands get real dirty then maybe some soap and water. But mostly just prick and test.

DeanaG 2012-09-29 11:47:23 -0500 Report

In my diabetes education classes we were told to use soap and water. I had been using alcohol wipes until I went to the classes.

cajunrose 2012-09-29 08:10:06 -0500 Report

i dont know my husband is a dibedic and he3 use the pads then soap and water is because his hands get dirty because we have a small farm so he do both and for me i have low sugar and i will not use the pads and u use the hand soap in the bottles because my skin dry out to fast

alanbossman 2012-09-29 07:22:59 -0500 Report

I agree with you soap and water work the best. alcohol dries the skin out and over time the skin gets tighter.

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