WHAT IS A LANCING DEVICE?
It’s a pen-like gadget that holds a small needle (a lancet) to prick your finger so you can check your blood glucose levels. Most blood glucose meters come in a kit with their own lancing device, but that may not be the best one for you.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A LANCING DEVICE?
- Multiple depth settings to get enough blood with less pain.
- Simple assembly and use.
- Easy lancet removal and disposal.
- Lancet compatibility – devices that fit universal lancets give you more choice.
HOW TO CHOOSE A LANCET
Lancets are the small needles that fit inside your lancing device. Here’s what to look for when choosing them:
Compatibility: Some devices only work with certain lancets while others are universally compatible. If you have this option, you can choose the lancets you prefer based on comfort, price and availability.
Cost: Lancets are not subsidised on the NDSS and are available from your state branch of Diabetes Australia or pharmacies. Prices range from $7.50 to $20 for a pack of 100, so costs add up over time, particularly if you’re monitoring regularly.
Comfort: When it comes to comfort, consider the needle gauge – the higher the gauge the thinner the needle and the less painful it is. Most lancets are 28G, 30G or 33G. If pain is an issue, opt for the ultra-thin 33G.
TIPS FOR PAIN-FREE TESTING
- Make sure your hands are clean, dry and warm.
- Use the side of your fingertip rather than the top, which you’re likely to use throughout the day.
- Choose the right depth setting – the shallowest setting that gives enough blood.
- Rotate the finger you use from day to day and use both sides of the fingertip.
- Change lancets regularly – they are designed for single use and become blunt if reused.
By Dr Kate Marsh, Diabetic Living diabetes educator and dietitian