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If you ever think, "I never go anywhere without my meter; it's like my wallet," think again. How many of us have forgotten our wallets? If it is prudent to own spare car keys, why not own a spare meter? Why not own two meters, one for the home and a spare meter for your workplace? If you exercise at the gym regularly, keeping a third spare meter in your locker is also advisable.
Protecting Against Low BGs Before Your Drive
If you've forgotten your blood glucose meter at home and cannot test, you need to counter any possible low blood sugar. Try eating some glucose tablets or some other quick-acting carbohydrate, then wait 15 minutes or so before driving. We must exercise extreme caution before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, as experiencing a hypoglycemic reaction while driving can be hazardous.
"I'm convinced that I should own more than one meter, but the meters are so expensive!"
Test strips are expensive, however, many times a free meter can be obtained from your diabetes educator, endocrinologist or through promotions at your local drugstore. Meters are also given away if you participate in diabetes patient studies, so ask your doctor. The Internet and the diabetes supply sections of diabetes magazines also have many meter rebates and trade-in offers. I recently called Diabetic Express (800-338-4656 or www.diabeticexpress.com) and was offered several "free" meters-(after manufacturer's rebate and trade in): Accu Chek Simplicity, Assure, Glucometer Elite XL, In Charge, One Touch FastTake, Surestep and the Glucometer DEX. The DEX is also free with no trade in if you join the Diabetic Express Bayer Patient Compliance Program.
What type of spare meter should you own?
I carry two meters from the same manufacturer so I don't have to worry about keeping different supplies of test strips at home and at the office. My insurance company also pays for one brand of test strip at a time, so keeping the same manufacturer for my spare meters means I don't have to buy extra strips.
Note of Caution
If you take a spare meter with you during your travels, be careful not to leave the meter and test strips in the car. Temperatures inside a vehicle can easily soar to over 100 degrees, well over the recommended storage temperature for meters and test strips. Using test strips exposed to extreme temperatures can result in inaccurate readings
Gary Krauch has type 1 diabetes and is a licensed professional engineer. He follows meters and technology for diabetes. He maintains a web site, www.bgmeters.com. Readers can contact Gary by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.