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What Are Lancets? And How to Use Them


If you or a family member has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you likely want to learn as much as possible about the condition. Of course, your healthcare provider will give you all the information, advice and guidance you need. But once you have left the Doctor’s office, you may need further clarification or have questions that didn’t come to mind previously. 

With that, we can help at Home Health UK. We are an award-winning online pharmacy offering a range of diabetes management supplies. We also have the experience and expertise to help you with further guidance on diabetes management. So, if you’re looking for more information on lancets, what, why and how they’re used, you have come to the right place. 

What are Lancets? 

A lancet is a small, sharp needle used to prick the skin and draw blood. It is an essential part of the diabetes management process. However, lancets can also be used to collect blood for other medical purposes. 

Lancets are single-use and should be disposed of safely using a sharps bin. Although they become blunt after use, they can still be sharp and potentially carry infection. 

Lancet Characteristics 

Not all lancets available on the market are the same. They are available in various sizes to suit individuals. For example, smaller lancets are most suitable for use by children and, if used on an adult, may not draw a suitable amount of blood. 

You can expect three common lancet characteristics:

  1. Ultrafine Tri Bevel Tip
  2. Tamper-Resistant Firm Safety Seal/Mechanism
  3. Various Needle Gauges 

How to Use a Lancing Device

Your research into lancets may have also turned up results for lancing devices. It is important to understand that you do not have to use a lancing device if you prefer to prick your finger with a lancet as is. However, it is your personal choice that you find more comfortable. 

A lancing device is a piece of equipment designed to hold your single-use lancet and pierce your skin with just a click of a button. They effectively make the process quicker and simpler to manage, especially for people who may be squeamish about piercing their skin, etc. 

They work by inserting a compatible, single-use lancet into the device and setting the piercing depth by the dial. By pressing the button, your lancet will pierce the skin to the appropriate depth set.

How to Use a Lancet

Now you know what a lancet and lancing device are, you can understand the instructions for use. Your healthcare provider will run through the steps to effectively use a lancet to draw a blood sample. You can also look to the manufacturer’s guidance available with your lancets, lancing device or blood glucose monitor. 

However, we have broken down the guidance into easy-to-follow steps to make it simpler to understand and implement. 

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly using hot water and soap. 
  2. Dry your hands. 
  3. Using an alcohol swab, wipe your finger to disinfect the area. 
  4. Break the lancet’s safety seal. 
  5. Decide which finger you will be pricking. 
  6. If using a lancing device, insert the lancet into the device. 
  7. Find a spot on your finger to aim the lancet, avoiding the dead centre.
  8. Apply pressure to the lancet to pierce the finger. If using a lancing device, press the button or follow the manufacturer’s instructions to trigger the mechanism. 
  9. Once pierced, remove the lancet and apply the blood from the fingertip to your test strip. 
  10. Wipe excess blood from the finger using a tissue or cloth, and discard the used lancet carefully. 

You can find more detailed instructions for the full process of testing blood sugar at home with our guide to monitoring blood glucose levels.

Benefits of a Lancing Device

We hope by now you understand the options available when starting to check your blood glucose levels at home. As mentioned, you do not need to use a lancing device to prick your finger. However, there are several benefits that you may not be aware of and want to try to decide for yourself.

Less Painful 

The first reason many people choose to use a lancing device is its reputation for being less painful than using a lancet on its own. It’s important to consider everyone has unique pain tolerances. Still, the fast punch of the lancet device is theorised to be a less painful method of piercing your finger as it pricks the finger much faster, minimising the sting. Using a lancet device on your own requires applying more pressure and typically piercing your finger more slowly, prolonging the pressure and subsequent pain. 

Adjustable Piercing Depth 

Using a lancet device allows you to set the optimal piercing depth for your finger and get the same results every time. Unlike relying on your ability to pierce your finger to the appropriate depth, your lancet device will know how far to push, ensuring you always get a sufficient blood sample. 

Great for Beginners 

If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have children who need blood glucose levels to be monitored, a lancet device is a great choice to get accustomed to daily finger pricking. It alleviates concerns for those who may be squeamish with blood and needles, as it puts more responsibility on the lancet device. All you have to do is push the button or otherwise trigger the mechanism. 

Shop Lancets & Lancing Devices at Home Health UK 

We hope our guide on using lancets and lancing devices has given you the knowledge you need to confidently lance your finger to get a blood sample. If you need further advice, you can contact our expert team, who will be happy to answer your questions on lancets and devices available. 

Browse our collection of lancets and lancing devices available online now, where you can find single-use lancets in a range of sizes from respected brands in the industry. You can also look for more diabetes management supplies, with high-quality blood glucose monitors and blood test strips available. 


Guide to Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels

Diabetic Test Strips: Everything You Need to Know

Living with Diabetes – What You Need to Know

Testing Ketone Levels Explained