Consistent blood glucose monitoring is a crucial aspect of managing diabetes. The accuracy of your readings largely depends on the quality of your diabetic test strips, so knowing how to extend their lifespan is essential. In this guide, we’ll provide in-depth advice on how to get the most out of your test strips.
Understanding Your Test Strips
Diabetic test strips are sophisticated pieces of technology. The small pads at the end contain chemicals (glucose oxidase, dehydrogenase, or hexokinase) that react with glucose in your blood sample.
This reaction creates an electrical current that your meter reads and translates into your blood glucose level. Maintaining the integrity of these chemicals is critical to receiving accurate readings.
Storage is Crucial
Proper storage of your test strips is paramount. Always keep your strips in their original container, which is designed to protect them from environmental variables. The container should always be tightly sealed to prevent exposure to humidity, which could interfere with the strip’s chemical composition.
Also, store them in a cool, dry place, avoiding direct sunlight or hot areas like your car or near a heating system.
Managing Expiry Dates
Test strips are not immune to degradation over time. All strips come with an expiry date printed on the packaging. Using strips past this date can yield unreliable readings. To prevent wastage, always use the oldest strips first and keep an eye on the expiry dates.
Test strips are delicate, and how you handle them can affect their performance. When taking a strip out, ensure your hands are clean and dry. Contaminants like food residue or lotions could potentially interfere with the strip’s reaction with your blood sample.
One Strip at a Time
Removing multiple strips from the container at once might seem like a time-saver, but it actually reduces their shelf life. Once a strip leaves its sealed container, it’s exposed to environmental factors that could alter its performance. Therefore, only remove a strip from the container when you’re ready to use it.
Closing the Strip Container
The chemical reagent on the strips is sensitive to air. Prolonged exposure can alter its effectiveness and, in turn, the accuracy of your readings. To prevent this, always close the strip container immediately after taking a strip out.
Device Calibration Matters
Device calibration is another aspect to be mindful of. Some glucometers need to be calibrated with each new set of strips or as instructed by the manufacturer. Ensuring your device is correctly calibrated will help maintain the accuracy of your readings.
With these in-depth insights, you’re now equipped to extend the life of your diabetic test strips without compromising their reliability.
This not only makes diabetes management more affordable but also ensures you’re getting the most accurate information to monitor your blood sugar levels effectively.