If you have recently received a diabetes diagnosis, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. You have to manage your diabetes with various supplies and devices, and you're not sure what it's all about. These materials will become more familiar to you over time, but now you may be somewhat confused. Though different uses and meanings apply to some terms, they sound similar – but until now, you've never heard these terms.
Let's kick this off with two definitions that you'll need to know regarding lancing devices and lancets:
- Lancing device: To help make the process of pricking your finger less painful and a bit easier, these are used with lancets.
- Lancets: These are used for finger sticks/finger pricks/blood samples to puncture the skin. It's a piece of plastic that is molded and contains a very thin, small needle. They can be used with lancing devices or alone. They supply just enough blood for testing.
Though all lancets might seem to be the same, they are not. The main variations are whether they’re self-contained and the needle gauge size. Though this may seem reversed, when a needle is smaller and thinner, it has a higher gauge number. You may need to read that again.
Less pain is frequently caused by smaller needles. But if you have rough or thick skin, a small needle might not do the job. To figure out which works best for you, you might have to experiment with a couple of sizes (gauges). Because you can adjust the finger prick’s depth with a lancing device, some people use them with a smaller needle successfully.
For easy and quick use of a lancing device, check out these steps:
- To decrease the chance of infection, wash your hands first.
- From your lancing device, remove the cap. Load a lancet (spring-loaded device) or turn the cap to load a lancet (cap-driven device).
- Figure out the depth you want and adjust the lancing device appropriately.
- Press the lancing device to your finger when you're ready to prick your skin. To trigger the lancet to poke your skin, press the button.
- From the location of the puncture, gently squeeze blood if, from that puncture, you're not getting enough blood at first.
- You may have to increase the lancet’s depth by adjusting the device if you still can't get blood from your finger and then try again.
- Before using the lancing device, you may try hanging your hand downward beside you, washing your hands with warm water first, or both.
- Avoid reusing lancets if possible because, to effectively poke your skin, they may be too dull after repeated usage.
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