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Can alcohol corrupt blood sugar readings?

Discussion in 'Blood Glucose Monitoring' started by Sugar High, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Sugar High

    Sugar High Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    If I disinfect the site of the blood glucose reading with rubbing alcohol and then take the reading while the site is still slightly damp from the alcohol, can that affect the reading?

    I have had some problems in the past with prolonged soreness at the spot on my fingers where I take the readings, so I have been disinfecting the site with alcohol before and after the reading. This has virtually eliminated the soreness.

    I keep a small bottle of alcohol on my desk. I dip the finger into the alcohol, let it dry, take the reading, wipe the blood off the finger, dip the finger in the alcohol again, and let it dry.

    Every once in awhile, I get in a rush and may not let the finger dry completely before taking the reading. I can tell when this happens, even though the finger looks dry, because the blood looks thinner, more like water than blood.

    Just now, it happened again. So I decided to run a little test. I took another reading at a different spot and got a much higher reading. I then took a third and got a reading in between the first two. Here are those readings:
    1. 12:31 am 132 mg/dL
    2. 12:32 am 239 mg/dL
    3. 12:34 am 212 mg/dL
    Can readings this diverse occur naturally?

    What's the best way to disinfect the reading site without affecting the reading?
     
  2. Jim Lahey

    Jim Lahey I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I just wash my hands under running water and dry with some kitchen tissue. I have some alcohol wipes but would only use them if I’m testing away from home, which never happens these days anyway.

    I would say it’s a fair assumption that your first reading was diluted.
     
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  3. jackois

    jackois Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I was told by the consultant on diagnosis never to use alcohol swabs before testing as the can skew the result, especially if not allowed to dry properly. Hand wash and test was his mantra.
     
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  4. Muddikins

    Muddikins Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Alcohol will tend to harden the skin over time and that's probably not a good thing.
    I used to use rubbing alcohol for a few weeks before I went sailing otherwise I would get huge blisters on the first day. Soap and water is good so you could wash before testing and perhaps use something with disinfectant properties afterwards.
     
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  5. Prem51

    Prem51 Type 2 · Expert

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    I usually take fbg when I wake, which is usually before I actually get up. I keep a small bottle of alcohol gel cleanser, with my testing stuff next to my bed. I do wave my hand around to dry the gel before I test, and it doesn't seem to affect the reading.
     
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  6. Jim Lahey

    Jim Lahey I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I’m actually not really a lover of soaps and disinfection in everyday life. Even showering I only use shower gel on my pits & bits. The rest I’m just all natural warm water. Yes I do use soap on my hands after using the bathroom, but otherwise I believe in not killing the natural bacteria that I share my body with. I don’t believe that a few germs are going to skew a blood glucose test, and personally I’ve never had an infection despite reusing the same lancet for weeks :nurse:
     
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  7. KK123

    KK123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Erm, thank you Jim, what an image!
     
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  8. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Expert
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    Hello @Sugar High I have never used alcohol to wash/wipe the area before testing, generally never get a chance to as on the move and doing up to 8 tests a day, I am hygienic and wash hands regularly, in over 7 years there's never been a problem. Although now I mainly use a continuous glucose monitor I still have to calibrate with meter tests. I would only use an alcohol wipe to change my sensor and allow the area to dry before application.

    Your readings will always be different too as there's a variance in readings from any meter, so your test isn't a conclusive way of checking this.
     
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  9. endocrinegremlin

    endocrinegremlin Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Handwash oooor, squeeze out some blood and wipe that over the sized then squeeze some more out and test that glob.
     
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  10. Sugar High

    Sugar High Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    OK, thanks
     
  11. Sugar High

    Sugar High Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Now how am I going to get that image out of my head. :bag: :yuck:
    My mother taught me not to pee on my hands! :D
    I'm only killing those that happen to be on that one finger tip. I can't imagine that that would upset any microscopic ecosystem. I sure their neighbors repopulate within minutes.
    It's not about skewing the test. It was the alcohol that I was worried might be doing that.
    I also reuse the lancet for weeks, but I dip it in alcohol before most uses. I've never had a serious infection, either, but I have had a sore finger for several days. That has stopped since I started using the alcohol. I can't have sore fingers when I perform Rachmaninoff at Carnegie Hall! o_O
     
  12. LooperCat

    LooperCat Type 1 · Expert

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    We don’t use alcohol in the ambulance service because it artificially lowers the result. We wipe fingers with sterile water on a piece of gauze before doing a test.

    A5163C58-5AD9-4F46-A497-B2AED850FE10.jpeg
     
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  13. Sugar High

    Sugar High Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that information
     
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  14. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    A relief.
    I thought you were asking about drinking alcohol.:wideyed:
     
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