Wash your hands when you test glucose!

Amy Tenderich
By Amy Tenderich Latest Reply 2012-02-04 16:13:12 -0600
Started 2011-03-02 10:43:57 -0600

A new study has confirmed it —

Not washing hands before checking your blood glucose led to a difference in glucose concentration of ≥10% in the first and in the second drops of blood — giving you wonky and inaccurate results!

See the study description here: http://cot.ag/hfkia1

Just a word of caution…

21 replies

Pastor Bruce
Pastor Bruce 2012-02-04 10:04:13 -0600 Report

A friend of mine had brown sugar on his hands and checked his sugar. It was out of sight. I also noticed that I have to make sure that I rinse my hands and get all of the soap off or I will get a higher reading. If my hands are not good and dry a little water will give me a lower reading.

amr82170 2011-03-14 15:01:18 -0500 Report

Has anyone heard of a problem with alcohol wipes? I would go to CVS and get the wipes with pain relief. I went to get fresh supplies and they didn't have any. I checked 2 others same thing. I finally asked pharm and they said there was a problem with all the wipes and they were on back order!

Bunny Cakes
Bunny Cakes 2011-03-14 16:18:17 -0500 Report

I've been buying Wal-mart's Reli-on Brand alcohol wipes lately they seem to be untouched by the contamination and the recalls.

0tina0 2011-03-07 09:39:38 -0600 Report

OK…this weekend I tried testing before and after washing my hands…and the difference wasn't even enough to mention. I realize the importance of hand washing as I was a nurse for 20 years…but I test 8-10 times a day and sometimes it isn't possible. I also tried the squeeze and the push the blood to the top…not much difference on that either.

jayabee52 2011-03-03 13:50:41 -0600 Report

I am lax with the hand washing before testing. So I need to do better about that. Perhaps this may get me to do it more consistently.

Tigereyze209 2011-03-03 08:39:03 -0600 Report

Wow! I knew of the risk of potentially "popping" any dormant contamination or just simple normal oils, salts, sweat, or any other stuff that normally, and naturally is on the skin into it , so was important to give it a good wash and dry so we get an accurate reading of what it under the skin, and not what is ON it, but it never dawned on me that repeated use of alcohol rubs could dry out the skin, or even worse, cause infections. Seriously folks, Thanks. It is little nuggets of wisdom like that which keep me comming back. It amazes me the amount of wisdom that comes from this group.
I say again, thanks.

MewElla 2011-03-03 07:35:07 -0600 Report

I always wash and dry my hands thoroughly before I test. Just makes sense if something is on your hands it will distort you bg #'s..

Bunny Cakes
Bunny Cakes 2011-03-03 06:51:58 -0600 Report

I always wash my hands even if it doesn't help my numbers I was told a long time ago that puncture wounds, like out lancets give us, get infected easily.

Now I know my lancet is sterile and the teacher who told me that was actually talking about puncture wounds from non-sterile things but my mind can't shake the idea that the stick could get infected if my hands are dirty.

And when you think about it it sort of makes sense they rub our skin with an alcohol swab before they give us a shot at the doctor so to me it says my skin on it's own might not be clean enough.

Though I do just use soap ans water before sticking my fingers and then a dab of alcohol after the test is over to wipe up any blood drops left.

mkhojh99 2011-03-02 17:19:21 -0600 Report

I was told you dont have to wash your hands as long as there is nothing sugary on them…or has been on them in a few hours…hence I usually dont wash my hands

echowit 2011-03-02 15:10:52 -0600 Report

Good advice. I was told to wash well and rinse even better.

'nuther hint (LOL). I'm old and have hardly any fingerprint definition left so I often lightly lick my fingertips to grip things. It makes it really easy to get Contour test strips out of the little bottle!!!!

Seriously, tho, I've read several mentions of "squeezing" on this and other sites. I may be guilty of that. I was told to push at the end joint (palm side) to puff up the end. Wrong?? What is squeezing and what's it do?

GabbyPA 2011-03-02 11:45:20 -0600 Report

I was taught to always use the second drop of blood, even if your hands were just washed. I might have to try it with the first and see how that works.

Keddiekilowatt 2011-03-02 11:40:44 -0600 Report

I only makes sense that any contaminate on your hands would change your blood sugar reading. Just because it would contaminate the blood.

kittenpurr1 2011-03-02 11:32:11 -0600 Report

They told me make sure the alcohol was dry, or the test would be false, it makes for a high reading. Also, if you peel oranges—that goes deep into our pores, it makes for a high reading; even if you do wash your hands.

gnrlpatton 2011-03-02 11:25:05 -0600 Report

I thought alcohol was ok to use also, but then again it makes since. The doctors are pushing just plain old soap and water work just fine.

kdroberts 2011-03-02 11:37:18 -0600 Report

Most healthcare professionals will advise against using alcohol for blood sugar testing since frequent use will dry the skin, lead to cracking and potential infections.

Gemm 2011-03-03 11:52:02 -0600 Report

My husband has had to stop using the alcohol pads the doc gave him because of it drying his hands out so much they were getting really cracked and painful. Now he just uses soap and water as do I (I never did use alcohol as I tend to have too dry of skin anyway and don't want to aggravate it any more). He will still carry a few with him though when he's out in case he has to test before he can get to a restroom to wash and dry.

misspat2u 2011-03-02 11:11:33 -0600 Report

Oh boy, I use to use alcohol on a cottonball, and I think that was interfering with my readings as well. Thanks for the info.
-Ms. Pat

kdroberts 2011-03-02 11:07:19 -0600 Report

It's interesting but it seems to suggest squeezing is fractionally worse than not washing your hands unless your hands are covered in some sugar based product.

≥10% difference in 11% of people using the first drop and 4% when using the second doesn't seem like a massive concern. ≥10% in 5-13% of people who squeeze doesn't seem like a massive deal either but slightly worse than not washing. I think the ≥10% difference in 88% of unwashed hands that had fruit juice on them is kind of a no brainer really. It would be interesting to see what the "control measures" used where and what glucose meters were used. I looked at the journal entry but couldn't see what those were. If they are comparing them to washed hands/no pressure tests on the same meters it could be that the meter accuracy in general was all or at least partially responsible for the differences.