A diabetic knows the pain of pricking the finger everytime a blood glucose reading has to be taken. It may be the actual pain of the needle puncturing the skin. At times the mere thought of this activity causes discomfort. However for the sake of one’s health and the requirement of a drop of blood has made this activity a routine one.
While most companies recommend a one time use, that is, change the needle after every prick. Refer Accu-chek faq for this. The general consensus is that most people reuse their lancing needles multiple times. Reusing may or may not be intentional. Some people just find it inconvenient to replace after every test.
A test strip has to be discarded after every test. Reusing is not an option, glucometers don’t accept used strips. However this is not the case with lancing devices. It is a mechanical device that has be replaced manually. It is the responsibility of the user to replace the lancets. So is it important that you change them after every test. Here are three reasons why you must rethink on this.
Quality of the needle decreases after a prick
Lancets are coated with silicone or similar substances. This increases the smoothness of the needle. In turn this reduces the friction between the needle and the surface of the skin. Low friction means that needle goes in and comes out without hurting the skin much. The puncture caused in the skin due to this process heals quickly as the damage is less. Once the coating wears off it may lead to skin irritation.
Possibility of infections
A new lancet is sterile only for one use. After the first use, it is no longer sterile. Since the same person is reusing the needle, the possibility of infection is less. Yet the needle is made of metal. It may have blood residue from previous pricks. There are chances of rusting. There has been reports of hepatitis outbreaks by reusing the lancets in hospital settings due to unsafe practices.
Pain is not the indicator
A general measure is to keep pricking until it pains. Today’s lancets have superior manufacturing technology which makes a prick virtually painless. Eventually the needles may become blunt. We may also get used to the pain. So pain may not be a good indicator for replacing needles.
For your safety and for the safety of your near and dear ones, it is prudent to replace lancets after every use. Do you think changing a lancet every time is expensive? or is it inconvenient?
Bonus Offer: As a gesture, we offer you 50 lancets free of cost on your next purchase of 100 test strips (any brand) from us. That’s about Rs.200 worth of lancing needles free for you. For some, that may be an year’s supply. Just tell us that you read this article. Offer valid until stocks last.