Living with Diabetes

Injection Techniques (Part 1)

Insulin is administered as a subcutaneous injection, a delivery mean by which the medicine is given into the layer of fat between the skin and the muscle. Proper techniques must be learned to ensure that insulin is given at the right site away from muscles or blood vessels which is painful and causes fast insulin absorption.
Injection sites:
Insulin is best injected into the following areas: (listed according to the rate of absorption)
  1. Abdomen - The fastest rate of absorption 
  2. Upper arms (not recommended for children or thinner people as it might be injected into muscle)
  3. Thighs 
  4. Buttocks- The slowest rate of absorption 
Choose an area that is most suitable for you and make sure to change the injection spot. Use a system to avoid injecting the same place each time such as rotating the belly site clockwise. Lumps or loss of feeling may occur when using the same spot over and over again which results in inconsistent absorption and affects the glycemic control negatively. 
Tips to take into consideration before injecting insulin from a vial:
Prepare your equipments:
Injecting insulin:
  1. Wash your hands with water and soap, and dry them.
  2. Hold the syringe and remove the cap in a direction away from your face or body. Be cautious with the needle to avoid injury.
  3. Pull back the plunger and draw air into the syringe equal to the amount of prescribed insulin dose.
  4. Remove the rubber stopper cap from the vial (DO NOT wipe with alcohol).
  5. Keep the vial standing upright on a flat surface.
  6. Insert the needle through the rubber stopper.
  7. Push the plunger down and inject the air from the syringe into the vial.
  8. While keeping the needle in the vial, hold the vial and turn it upside down and draw the desired dose with more few units.  
  9. Remove the syringe and hold it with the needle pointing upward and tap the syringe with a finger to get rid of any trapped air bubbles. The air bubbles will not cause any harm but they might be painful and will result in an inaccurate dose. 
  10. Push the plunger back until the dose is obtained precisely.
  11. With your other hand, pinch a soft skin fold and insert the needle either straight up or at a slight angle (45o) into the skin.
  12. After inserting the whole needle into the skin, push down the plunger slowly to release the insulin under the skin.
  13. Hold the syringe when is empty for 10 seconds to ensure that the dose is fully injected and to prevent any insulin leakage. 
  14. Place a cotton ball or a tissue over the injected spot and press for few seconds. DO NOT use alcohol swabs as they harden the skin or can result in dry skin.
Disposal of insulin syringes:
Insulin syringes are meant to be for single use only as they can cause contamination and injuries. For safety purposes, place the used syringe and other sharp objects in a hard plastic or metal container with secured lid.