INSULIN INJECTING TECHNIQUE

Correct injection technique ensures the accurate delivery of insulin and should be a relatively pain-free process. 

Incorrect injection technique on the other hand can be painful, leave discolouration or bumps on skin and doesn't deliver insulin properly to the body.

Here are some tips to ensure you are injecting insulin correctly for the best results:

1.  Storage

Insulin pens or vials not being used should be stored in the door of the fridge. 

The insulin pen or vial you are using can be kept at room temperature.  (Remember - injecting a very cold fluid straight out the fridge into your warm body could be uncomfortable!) 

Keep the pen/vial you are using out of direct sunlight and also do not transport it in a very warm car.

2.  Needles

Best length of needle to use is a 4mm needle.

Needles should be changed daily after every use.  The needles are very thin and get blunt after one use, if blunt they can cause pain with injecting and also do not deliver insulin accurately.

3.  Timing

Ensure you are using your injection/s at the correct time daily.

Long-acting insulin should be used once daily at about the same time everyday.  Newer long-acting insulins allow for daily time flexibility. 

Short-acting insulin should be used anytime between 15-30minutes before meals depending on the kind of short-acting insulin.

Insulin mixes need to be used 1-3 times a day 30minutes before meals.

4.  Safety test

A safety test should be performed before each injection to ensure there are no air bubbles in the insulin.  Dial 2 units, hold injection upright and press the 2 units out.  If no liquid comes out, repeat steps until they do.

5.  Dose Preparation

Dial the injection to the dose recommended by your health care professional.  If you dial the dose too high,  you can move it back to the correct dose without problems.

6.  Injection Technique

Once your dose is loaded, insert the needle into your skin at a 90 degree angle.  Depress the top button of the injection to administer the dose.  Once the full dose is administered, wait 10seconds before removing the needle to ensure the full dose is absorbed.

7.  Site Choice

The picture to the right shows the various injections sites one can use.

We can easily become comfortable with continuously injecting into a certain area, but remember to always ROTATE your injection sites. 

If you chose to inject on your abdomen,  stay 2cm away from your bellybutton but move between injecting below, above, to the right and to the left of the belly button.  Insulin is absorbed the fastest from this area so it is best to inject your short-acting insulin around the abdomen.

The same applies to the outer, upper legs - rotate up and down and alternate between legs.  Insulin is absorbed slower in this areas so it is a good place to inject long-acting insulin in.

Upper arms and buttocks can also be used.  These are difficult to access if you are injecting yourself so sometimes more suited to parents who are injecting their kids.

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