Health Tips
Are You Storing Your Glucose Test Strips Properly? — How to Store Test Strips
Oct 30, 2017 - 10:54:42 PM

( - Whether you’re living with Type I or Type II diabetes, testing your blood glucose is an integral aspect of managing your condition. For those new to the routines and technologies associated with these two insulin-related disorders, you may have questions about test strip storage. Because those with diabetes use these tiny slips of plastic to monitor glucose levels and take appropriate action to curb high or low readings, proper storage is essential. In the article below, we’ll explore ways in which to ensure this, how improper storage can distort readouts, and provide a bit of background on their history.

Home Testing as a Revolution

Treatment and monitoring of both types of diabetes have come a long way in the past fifty years. It was once a cutting-edge technique to test for sugars in the urine of patients using a test tube and an open flame. Since the invention of the glucometer in 1962, which used the first test strips, technology has been developed to allow patients to test their glucose at home.

While glucometers have always utilized testing strips, before the 1990s, they functioned differently. Initially, test strips treated blood samples with an enzyme and converted glucose to a dye sample. Meters of the time shone a beam of light on the dye sample and measured how much light the test spot of dye absorbed. This process was both time-consuming and tedious, prone to produce erroneous readings.

In the early 90s, developers introduced a new test strip that used glucose oxidase to convert glucose into an electrical impulse. New meters then read this electrical signature and produced a reading of glucose saturation in the blood. However, these new test strips and meters were dramatically different from previous technology in every respect. These differences require users to understand how to store test strips properly to prevent contamination or degradation of the components.

Strip Design and the Necessity of Proper Storage.

The new design of the test strip is a multi-layer affair. It includes a top absorbent layer beneath a plastic sheath, a channel draws the blood sample into the strip, an enzyme reservoir and a mediator chemical that facilitates electrical reading, and electronic circuitry to process and communicate the numeric value to the meter.

Because the strips are highly sensitive and contain volatile chemicals intended to react and transmit data, storage environment is critical. If you don’t know how to store test strips, even high humidity can result in a falsely high or low reading. However, by observing a few simple rules each time you test your blood glucose, you’ll ensure an accurate reading.

Each batch of test strips comes in or with a sealed vial. Be sure to check the expiration date printed on the bottle before using the test strips. You should discard the test strips nine months after you first open the vial. In order ensure you’re only using unexpired test strips, write the discard date of the batch on the vial in clearly visible ink or marker. Once you’ve affirmed that your test strips are fresh and written the discard date, keeping the vial sealed is essential.

Because strips that have suffered exposure to the elements can provide misleading readings, they are considered hazardous. Test strip manufacturers always strictly advise closing the vial firmly after each use. Additionally, you should keep your test strips away from heat, light, and high humidity. Be sure to place a clean cloth between the test strip and the countertop to ensure the strip’s purity before use, and if you receive a reading that is abnormally above or below your usual range, contact your physician.

Managing your diabetes and monitoring blood glucose with your home meter is easier than ever. This permits a superior level of control than ever before, allowing you to tailor your daily routine based on accurate, easy-to-obtain glucose readings. Proper test strip storage and use are the first steps to independence.


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