Diabetes Management Made Simple: How to Inject Insulin
By Jesus Chirino
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, insulin shots may become a part of your daily routine. For many diabetics, injecting insulin is a task that must get done on a pretty regular basis. If you are just starting out and especially if needles make you a bit uncomfortable, the thought of having to inject yourself may make you somewhat scared. Don't panic, with a little practice and the right technique, injecting insulin will become an easy part of your diabetes management routine.
In reality, insulin injections are almost painless; having to prick your finger with a lancet device to test your blood sugar levels is far more painful that injecting insulin. Learning the right technique to inject your insulin will mean more effectiveness and less pain. This article will teach you some insulin delivery basics that will help you do just that.
Using a syringe or an insulin pen, insulin is injected into the fat under the skin. It can be injected into the abdomen, the thighs, the upper arms or the buttocks. Insulin is absorbed a lot quicker when it is injected into the abdomen or upper arms, something to keep in mind when you are trying to decide where to inject yourself at a certain time. You should rotate sites on a daily basis, and if you do use the same area again, try to inject yourself at least one inch away from where you last injected the insulin.
To begin, gather your supplies: your insulin, your syringe or insulin pen and sharps container. It is not necessary to use an alcohol swab as it will just make the injection far more painful. Remember to make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and that the injection site is clean before delivering the insulin.
If you are using clear insulin, you do not need to mix it, but if you are using cloudy insulin, you must. Never shake it. Put it in between the palms of your hands and roll it back and forth gently between your fingers. Now, remove the cap from the needle and pull the plunger back to insert the same amount of air into the syringe as the amount of insulin that you are going to inject. Insert the needle into the insulin bottle and push the plunger to insert the air inside the syringe into the bottle.
Turn the insulin bottle upside down and start drawing out the insulin slowly, making sure that there are no air bubbles. When you have reached the needed unit mark, pull the needle out and get ready to inject.
Once you have chosen your injection site and you have made sure that the site is clean, you are now ready to inject. Pinch the small area of skin surrounding the injection site gently with one hand. Hold the syringe with the other hand like you would a pencil and insert the needle straight into the skin at a 90 degree angle. If you do not have much body fat, you might need to inject at a 45 degree angle.
Push down slowly on the plunger to begin to deliver the insulin. After you have finished injecting the dose, leave the needle in for at least five seconds, to prevent any insulin from leaking out. Pull the needle straight out and dispose of it in your sharps container.
If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes or have recently started insulin treatment, it may be a little scary to think that you have to inject yourself on a regular basis. But if you learn the right techniques and become confident and efficient, injecting insulin will be an easy part of your regular diabetes management routine that you will barely think about.
About the Author
Jesus Chirino is webmaster of Your Life with Diabetes, a website dedicated to providing free diabetes information and resources.
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