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If the person can know the level of glucose in their blood, they can manage their diabetes much better. It gives them more control, as well as being able to detect early if they are starting to become either hypo- or hyperglycaemic. The individual affected by diabetes will normally carry out the test themselves.

Finger-pricking devices are automatic devices used by people with diabetes to test their blood sugar. They pierce the skin to extract a blood sample for testing. To do this, they insert a lancet, a very short, very fine needle, into the skin using a spring mechanism. However, as the skin is the natural barrier of infection, the site which is going to be pierced, as well as the lancet itself must be sterilised and usually an alcohol pad or wipe will be used to clean the area beforehand. Only one drop of blood is needed to test sugar levels and the first few times the injection is taken it will be quite painful, however the person will quickly get used to it. It is also important to remember to use a new test strip each time so the blood is entirely fresh and not contaminated by a separate sample. After pricking the finger, massage the area, pushing the blood distally, meaning away from the heart, to help get a drop out of the tiny wound. It may help some people to sit down and lower their hand if blood flow is restricted.