Many of my patients are hesitant to begin
injecting insulin, but once they actually try it, it becomes like any other routine.
Here’s how I teach them. You’ll need: • Your bottle of insulin
• Syringe • And a sharps container Always wash your hands with soap and water
before you begin. Typically, there are 3 syringe sizes:
• 1 cc holds 100 units of insulin • a ½ cc holds 50 units
• and 1/3 cc holds 30 units Talk to your care team about how much insulin
you need and which syringe size you should use. Insulin needles have gotten much smaller over
the years. So they are much less painful than you might expect. When you first get your insulin, keep it refrigerated.
After the first time you use it, you can keep it in room temperature for 28 to 42 days.
It will more comfortable to inject. If you have cloudy insulin, it needs to be
mixed. Gently roll the bottle in your hands. Then rotate it from top to bottom, without
shaking. • When you’re ready to inject, pull the
plunger back to the number of units needed, drawing air into the syringe.
• Insert the needle into the bottle of the insulin through the rubber cap.
• Inject the air from the syringe into the bottle.
• Turn the bottle upside down with the needle in it.
• Make sure the tip of the needle is fully submerged in the insulin as you pull the plunger
back to the correct number of insulin units. This helps prevent air bubbles. Air bubbles aren’t harmful, but can take
up room and prevent you from getting the right dose. If you have bubbles, simply inject the contents
back into the bottle and repeat the procedure. Next, inject at a 90-degree angle. Hold for 5 seconds. Then pull the needle out. Drop the syringe into the sharps container,
which you can buy at any local pharmacy. Ask your diabetes care manager where to safely
dispose of your sharps container when it’s full. Make sure not to re-use insulin needles, as
it’s not safe and can cause more pain with injection. It’s important to switch injection sites
to prevent bruising and pain. Each time you inject, choose a new site this
way: • Rotate injection sites in a imaginary
circle. • Always leave 2 fingers width in between
injection sites. • And, keep the same distance from your
belly button. Your care team prescribes insulin because
it’s safe and effective. We’re confident you will be able to use it successfully. If
you have any questions about how to inject insulin, or how much to take, ask your care
manager. Adjusting to a new habit can be challenging
at first, but the benefits to your health are worth it.