Taking the Sting Out of Using Insulin Needles



If your diabetes diagnosis is new, navigating the sea of medical information you are faced with is a daunting task. Alternatively, you may be a loved one or caregiver of someone recently diagnosed and are seeking to inform yourself about the road ahead and the lifestyle changes that will inevitably come to you both. One aspect of diabetes that often causes anxiety is insulin injections, but armed with the right information and careful practice, anyone can learn to administer insulin successfully.

The primary uses and applications of insulin syringes and insulin needles are for diabetic patients. They are usually solely used for the injection of insulin but more rarely to inject small amounts of other medicines. Insulin needles are available in different lengths and diameters, and usually come attached to the syringe. The gauge of the needle refers to its length and thickness. These needles range from 28-gauge to 31-gauge. The more comfortable injection is provided by the finer needle (a higher gauge number). Syringes can be purchased in three dosage capacities. They are 100 units or 1 ml, 50 units or .5 ml, and 30 units or .3 ml. Your prescribed dose of insulin will tell you which size you need.   

At first, you may feel a little anxious about giving yourself a shot, but remember, more than 500,000 ordinary people just like you inject themselves daily. If they can do it, so can you. With a bit of practice, it will become a regular part of your day. Once you learn the basics, you’ll be able to draw medicine into your insulin syringe and inject yourself like a pro. You’ll soon be used to the slight stings of injections, which don’t last long, and insulin needles are significantly smaller than they used to be. Three things to be mindful of in the beginning are double-checking correct dosage, practicing correct injections, and learning proper storage of insulin.

Steps for properly giving yourself an injection with insulin needles:

1. Always start with clean hands

2. Clean the top of insulin bottle with rubbing alcohol

3. Draw air to correct dosage

4. Inject air into bottle

5. Flip over and draw to correct dosage of insulin

6. Release any air bubbles

7. Push out drop of insulin

8. At injection site pinch the skin

9. Relax the muscles

10. Hold needle steady and straight for injection
 

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