How do I check my blood sugar?

The usual blood sugar check involves sticking your finger with a small needle called a lancet, putting a drop of blood on a test strip, and using a meter that displays your blood sugar level. Blood sugar meters and test strips are available at your local pharmacy, through mail order, or through your healthcare provider. There are many different types of meters. Your healthcare provider can help you select the meter that is best for you.

If you have insurance, check with your insurance company to see if you are covered. If you do not have insurance, check with your caregiver for other options.

When should I check my blood sugar?

The usual times to check your blood sugar level are before meals and at bedtime. Your healthcare provider will tell you how often and when to check your blood sugar.

How do I check my blood sugar?

Here are the steps for checking your blood sugar:

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and warm water. If you are not able to wash with soap and water, use an alcohol wipe. The testing area must be completely dry. Do not use hand sanitizers.
  3. Place a new lancet into the lancing device, following the instructions in the user manual.
  4. Insert a test strip into the meter.
  5. Place the lancing device firmly on the side of your fingertip. Press the button on the lancing device to obtain a drop of blood.
  6. Place the test strip against the drop of blood and allow the strip to absorb it.
  7. Read the result from the meter.
  8. Throw the lancet away in a hard plastic container, according to the guidelines of your local waste disposal agency.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/17/2018.


  • American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Basics. Accessed 9/18/2018.
  • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. What is Diabetes? Accessed 9/18/2018.
  • American Diabetes Association. A1C and eAG. Accessed 9/18/2018.

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