By Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL
Summer Storage of Test Strips: Heat, humidity, temperature and exposure to air can all affect strips. Store test strips at a temperature less than 86 degrees F. DO NOT FREEZE and DO NOT expose test strips to direct sunlight.
Other Good Test Strips Tips:
Loose diabetes test strips. If you put individual diabetes test strips into your purse or wallet this can affect the accuracy (unless they are foil-wrapped from the manufacturer). Also, try not to move the few remaining strips of one vial into the new vial you are opening if the code numbers don’t match. And if you have one vial of diabetes test strips at home and one vial at work but just use the one meter – make sure the vials have the same coding. WAIT!!! Ahhh. . . and one more thing. Even if the strips have the same code, they may have different expiration dates! After transferring a few strips a couple of times, you could end up with some pretty outdated strips floating around in a vial!
Age of blood sugar monitor: Old blood sugar monitors may be inaccurate simply because of age. But old diabetic meters also tend to need cleaning or the dirt/dried blood could affect the accuracy of the reading. Be sure to follow cleaning instructions from the manual to ensure accurate results. If you have a diabetic meter older than 5 years please consider calling the meter company (often there is a 1-800 # on the back of the meter) and asking for a free updated model. They should want to keep you as a customer buying their strips.
Expired diabetes test strips? Check the expiration date when the pharmacy gives you the diabetes test strips. If you don’t feel you’ll be using them before that date, ask for another batch with a later date
Underfilled? Most newer meters have under-fill detection of some sort, and some beep after a few seconds even if the chamber isn’t full. You may get a reading lower than anticipated. Some meters tend to “err” and waste strips if you don’t hold your finger in place long enough. It’s a good practice to hold your finger to the strip for 1-2 seconds after the beep to avoid wasting diabetes test strips because of under fill.
Date vial opened? For some diabetes test strips, once you open the vial you should use the content of the vial within 3 months no matter what the expiration date (because of repeated exposure to air). Some products have a lid with a preservative in it so they are supposedly good up until the actual expiration date on the bottle. However, other vials of strips are good for a limited time once the lid is opened (regardless of the date). Check the information in your diabetes test strip box to be sure.
Storage of meter: Don’t leave blood sugar monitors in the car on hot or freezing days. They are just tiny little devices and you know how temperamental electronics are.
Have a safe and healthy summer!
Source: American Diabetes Association