Protection from any kind of bloodborne infection is a basic requirement at any healthcare centre. However, the risk of transmitting viruses during blood glucose monitoring or insulin administration is significantly high. When devices used for testing, like blood glucose meters and insulin pens, are shared or contaminated equipment are used, they give opportunity for exposure to hepatitis C virus and other bloodborne viruses. These unsafe practices are more common in long-term care settings like assisted living facilities, nursing homes, health fairs and senior centres. To prevent outbreaks in such places, it is important that basic principles of infection control are followed by people who perform blood glucose monitoring. Here we have listed the ways by which one can prevent infection while measuring blood glucose:
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fingerstick devices should only be used for one person only. Fingerstick devices, also referred as lancing devices, are used to prick the skin and obtain blood for sampling. It is important to know here that these devices are of 2 types: one that can be re-used on a single person and other that is meant for single use only. Let’s look at the infection control recommendations for each of them.
Reusable Devices – these devices are designed in such a way that one can replace or remove the lancet after every use, hence they can be used more than once. But it is advised to reuse it on the same individual only to prevent chances of any infection. It is best for individuals who wish to self-monitor their blood glucose levels.
Single-use Devices- these devices have an auto disabling feature which prevents chances of its re-use. They must be used in settings where assisted monitoring of blood glucose is done. It is advised to dispose the used one touch select test strip right away in a proper sharps container.
BLOOD GLUCOSE METERS
To prevent chances of any bloodborne pathogen transmission, blood glucose meters should not be shared with anyone. However, if there is a situation where a blood glucose meter is to be shared, make sure it is cleaned properly and sterilised as per manufacturer’s instructions after every use. If no specifications are mentioned by the manufacturer, it is better that you not share the glucose meter.
Apart from the above precautions, there are some general safety measures that all medical practitioners must follow. They should keep the unused supplies in a separate, clean area, away from the used supplies and equipment. They should also not carry these supplies in their pockets. Medical practitioners should always purchase these supplies from reputed stores, the likes of Smart Medical Buyer, where they can find all medical supplies, be it 3-way Foley catheter, test strips or stethoscope.