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From Minnesota, USA:

What effect does four times a day finger poking have on children's fingers? My 11-year-old son has had diabetes for two years and his fingers are starting to get pretty ragged. I was told by someone that their father's fingers were so damaged after 10 years that he could hardly pick up a pen dropped on the floor. You can guess how an 11-year-old boy feels about lotion -- and will that really do much good anyway? And if so, any recommendations on what kind?


In general, finger poking when done with clean fingers and sharp, clean lancets should have minimal effects on a child's fingers.

Good technique: wash hands with warm, soapy water, use a fresh lancet, on the side (not the pad) of the fingertip, rotate fingers (use the left hand on odd days and the right hand on even days, rotating fingers for each test, above all don't use the same finger for each test!), apply pressure to the lanced site until the bleeding has stopped with a clean cotton ball or tissue. Avoid putting bleeding fingers in your mouth: it's a germ laden environment.

I know of patients who have been blood testing for 20 years with minimal damage and have only seen two kids with finger problems: they both put their fingers in their mouths after testing.

There are some excellent lotions available. Ask the pharmacist at your specialty diabetes supply store. However, with proper technique, lotion is not necessary.

Make sure your diabetes care professional is checking finger poke sites at your quarterly visits, just as they check injection sites. You can always contact your CDE or diabetes nurse between appointments if you are having any finger problems.


[Editor's comment: Though boys may feel differently about lotion than girls, a little lotion in the evening before bed can help make a difference. JSH]

Original posting 18 Oct 1998
Posted to Daily Care


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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