Blood glucose monitoring - alchohol prep pads ok?

I suspect something a bit off about my blood glucose levels and got a ReliOn blood glucose monitor (Ultima). The directions say to wash your hands before sticking yourself to get blood. Would it compromise the results somehow if I were to use alcohol prep pads to clean off the skin I intend to draw blood from instead of soap and water?

Thank you.

No, it shouldn’t. Alcohol pads don’t have any glucose on it so it shouldn’t effect the reading. Plus, whenever we did glucose testing in class we always used alcohol pads ourselves before testing.

One thing, make sure you let the alcohol dry before you prick yourself.


It is interesting the different instructions you get on this. I was told not to use alcohol pads because long-term use (and I’ll test daily) will overly dry the skin. Also, I was told to just wash under hot water, no soap because some scented soaps contain compounds that could distort the test. In the same clinic (different provider), my wife was given alcohol pads to clean the test site.

I imagine most people rotate test sites - would the alcohol dry the skin that much? (I use hand sanitizer probably a half-dozen or more times a day at work and my hands are still going strong!)

Hand sanitizer normally contains 62% Ethyl Alcohol, while the pads normally contain 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. So they are different. However, I don’t think with normal use, with rotating the finger you prick, will cause any long term dry skin… And if it is something you worry about, just put some moisturizer on your hands daily and that should take care of any dryness issues.

You can even get alcohol swabs with a numbing agent from U.S. Wal-Mart pharmacies for before your test. They’re made by Reli-On. Like others said, though, let the alcohol dry before pricking.