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Diabetes: Blood Glucose Monitoring

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Blood Glucose Monitoring:

Blood glucose monitoring is how a person with diabetes checks blood sugar levels at home. Blood glucose monitoring will help you and your child know how diet, insulin and exercise work together to control diabetes. It will also tell you how the changes you make affect your child's blood sugar. Your child’s doctor or nurse will tell you how often to test your child's blood sugar.

There are many types of blood glucose monitors. It is always a good idea to check with your child’s doctor or nurse educator before buying any new supplies.

Things you will need:

  • Lancet
  • Alcohol swabs (optional)
  • Lancet device (optional)
  • Tissue/cotton ball, if needed
  • Test strip
  • Pen
  • Meter
  • Record book 

How to check your child’s blood sugar level:

Have your child wash his/her hands with warm water and soap. The warm water helps increase the blood flow to your child's finger so that it will bleed more easily. Using the lancet device or the lancet alone, prick the side of the finger so that a drop of blood appears. (The sides of the finger have fewer nerve endings and will hurt less. Using the sides of the finger can help prevent losing the sense of touch.)

Follow the meter directions on how and when to insert the test strip. Record the results in your child’s record book.

NOTE: Always check the expiration date on the bottle of test strips. Do not use them if the date has passed.

Always close the cover on the strips tightly. The strips will not give correct results if they get wet or are exposed to moisture. Use only the strips that are made to use with your blood glucose meter. Make sure the code is set properly in the meter.

Alternate site testing:

Some glucose meters allow use of other test sites because less blood is necessary for the test strip and other sites may be less painful than the finger. Some alternative sites include the forearm, upper arm, fleshy part of the hand, thigh and calf. Check with your meter company, doctor, or nurse educator to see if this is an alternative for you.


Most glucose meters have a memory feature that will store blood sugar levels. It is a good idea to write the blood sugars down weekly to look at the trends in your blood sugars. Always bring your glucose meter to follow-up visits.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 07/2008

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