Fingertip Felons in Diabetics: A lancet is the device diabetics use to puncture the outer layer of skin in order to get a drop of blood for glucose testing. This is a common practice for those who live with diabetes.
Many like to use a lancet pen. You simply cock the pen and place it against the testing site. Press the button and the lancet will puncture the skin and should draw enough blood to test. These pens have various settings so you will need to adjust until the pen punctures only as deep as is necessary for testing purposes.
For those new to this procedure you should wash your hands before testing with soap and warm water. Find a comfortable place to sit and place the lancet device on the side of your finger just below the fingertip. It may be hard to get used to the test. If it is very uncomfortable to take the test you might ask your physician for help in locating a lancet that is the least painful.
Diabetics are not generally consistent in when they replace their lancet. Some may only replace the lancet needle every few months while other may insist on replacing it daily – most fall somewhere in between those extremes. Dr. Daniel Einhorn is quoted as saying, “Since the lancet goes into the subcutaneous space and is not being used intravenously, and since blood is flowing out of the body, sterility is generally not an issue. The rate of infections and injury from lancets is extremely low. Many people, however, are not able to reuse lancets because they feel discomfort or they experience scarring if the lancet is not in optimal condition. Once a lancet has been used, its surface is rougher, the lubricant wears off and the point is duller. Any handling of the lancet, such as cleaning with alcohol, tends to worsen it.”
However, ten years ago Japanese doctors suggested that using the fingers for testing blood glucose was not a healthy way to gain test data. These doctors suggested large-scale development of devices aimed at helping patients test using small pricks in their earlobe or even their toe.
The concern these Japanese doctors expressed is found in a condition called Felon. According to Emedicine.com, “Felons are characterized by marked throbbing pain, tension, and edema of the fingertip pulp.”
Essentially it is possible to test and then infect your finger using a lancet. You can typically heal well from Felon, but it often requires antibiotics. The problem is most diabetics already experience pain with testing so they may not recognize there is an issue.
A Felon may be caused by a Staph infection and the staff infection may have been introduced through blood testing in diabetics. There are some Felons that are introduced into the fingers of diabetics when the patient has a habit of chewing their fingernails.
If your fingers continue to experience pain long after your original testing it may be a sign that there are more problems than a lancet prick. Be sure to check with your doctor.
Additionally if you have a dominant hand that you use for certain personally enjoyable pursuits you may want to test the less dominant hand. This allows musicians to keep playing. Typists may ask for options other than fingers if this occupation is their primary livelihood.
There are multiple options with respect to the ultimate sites you use for blood glucose testing. Have your doctor explain options and the difficulties you may experience with each. Assess risks and make a choice that is beneficial to your overall management plan.