Learning how to inject insulin is an unfortunate skill many diabetics are forced to acquire. While most people will have their healthcare provider teach them, let’s take a look at how it is done and some of the various issues you need to be on the lookout for when completing this task.
As you know, getting the proper insulin dosage and delivery is very important. However, there is often more than one injection technique, injection location and even delivery method.
When it comes to injecting insulin, it may take you awhile to both learn how to best understand the routine and also, know which one suits you. Before we discuss the major types of injection, there are a few basic rules to learn about the general topic of injecting:
- Clean Hands: Though it may seem like an obvious one, it can be forgotten. You want to make sure that when you are dealing with anything to do with your blood, that your hands are as clean as possible to avoid infection.
- Site Choice: Next, decide the best injection site, most commonly a rotating site on your stomach. However, you can often choose the thigh, back of the arm, or buttocks, if approved by your doctor. Ensure that you avoid any scar tissue and the naval area. The site should have enough “fatty tissue” to ensureproper absorption of the insulin.
How to Inject Insulin with a Syringe or Pen
The most common methods of injecting insulin are with an insulin pen or syringe. The following is a common method or routine for this type of insulin delivery.
- Numb the Area: If you are a tough guy or gal, you may skip this step. However, don’t think you are a wimp if you want to minimize the pain a bit!! Numbing the injection site can really help minimize the pain and make the experience far less distasteful. Common ways to numb the injection site include placing ice, a bag of frozen vegetables or even some numbing cream on the area.
- Clean Area: With an alcohol swab, wipe the injection site to clean it.
- Pinch the Skin: Next, pinch the skin into a fold and hold. Try to make sure you find a fatty area, as it will be less painful for injection and help absorb the insulin better.
- Insert the Needle: Once you have the site prepared, try to insert the needle as quick and accurately as possible. Generally, the quicker you place the needle in the skin the less painful. However, don’t go so fast that you do not do the routine properly. Like all things in life, practice will make perfect. Insert the needle at a 90 degree angle for proper administration.
- Inject: Once you have the needle inserted deep enough but not so deep that it reaches the muscle, you inject the insulin. This is done by pushing the top of the syringe all the way down or pressing the button on the pen.
- Remove the Needle: Remove the needle by pulling it STRAIGHT out for minimal amount of pain.
Please be aware, that if you use this type of injection method, you will need to ensure constant rotation of the injection sites. If sites are not rotated, then a number of complications can arise.
Insulin Injection Video
Here is a video about how to inject insulin:
How to Inject Insulin with an Insulin Pump
Many people find an insulin pump more effective and convenient option for insulin delivery, given their insulin needs and lifestyle. The pump is usually worn on the body with a small tube extending from the pump to a catheter (needle) that is inserted continuously under the skin.
Each insulin pump has variations about how the catheter is inserted under the skin, so we would defer to each manufacturer and your healthcare provider for more detailed discussion about how to inject insulin with this device.