Islets of Hope treatment options for persons with diabetes
By Lahle Wolfe
This article is part of a series on insulin shot therapy and insulin pens
Part 2 (Pens)
Part 3 (Shots & Pens)
Part 1 (Syringe)
ADA Complete Guide to Diabetes: Perhaps the most complete and authoritative resource on diabetes, American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes covers everything from how to manage types 1 and 2 and gestational diabetes, to traveling with insulin, sick-day action plans, and recognizing hypoglycemia.
Other contents include information on symptoms, complications, exercise and nutrition, blood sugar control, sexual issues, drug therapies, insulin regimes, and much more. Plus, information for every parent about children, schools, and day care. This updated third edition features new information on medications, diabetes management and new therapies, and new treatments for diabetes complications.
Links to Insulin Injection Tips
Comfort Links for Children with Diabetes
Teddy Bears Teach Tots - Diabetes Health on helping children deal with shots.
JDRF link to books about diabetes and children, including taking shots.
Live and Learn with Diabetes: Educational Toys and Products for Kids
Bearing with Type 1 Diabetes. An article about Rufus and Ruby, teddy bears that bring comfort to children with diabetes. The bears were even launched into orbit aboard the space shuttle Atlantis!
Helping Your Child Manage Type 1 Diabetes. An article on children with diabetes by Brighmas and Women's Hospital.
Want a visual aid? Visit Lantus' online video guide for step-by-step instructions on how to inject insulin.
Choosing an Injection Site
There are many parts of the body that you can inject. It is important to note how you react to various sites. For example, sometimes, injecting in areas that are more muscular (i.e., thighs and buttocks) may be more sensitive to insulin than fattier areas like hips, tummy and the arms. If you are going to be exercising, or using a particular muscle group, it is better to inject in another area like the tummy or hips. This is because exercise increase temperature and blood circulation, especially to muscles, this in turn can increase the rate of insulin absorption and may lead to hypoglycemia.
It is important that you rotate your injection site, however, you should try to use the same body area for injections that are given at the same time each day. If you prefer using your arms in the morning, always use your arms in the morning. If you use your tummy in the evening, always use your tummy in the evening. Because different areas respond to insulin in various ways, by using the same body area for these routine injections your response to insulin will be more predictable and consistent.
Do not inject:
Rotating your Injection Site
It is very important that you rotate injection sites. Repeated injection into the same site can cause scarring, which will make the site less sensitive to insulin. It also causes (definitions courtesy of Children With Diabetes):
Giving the Injection
It most states it is illegal to throw syringes into garbage cans where someone else could accidentally get poked. You can purchase sharps containers at any drug store, on the Internet, and many local fire departments offer "trades" of used containers for empty ones. Be sure to call your city officials to see what disposal restrictions apply in your area.
When you traveling you may not be able to find a sharps disposal container (sometimes they are featured in public restrooms). Break the needle off the syringe and store the syringe part in an empty soda can. You can also purchase needle clippers at most drug stores (don't use scissors). Store needles and used lancets in an old film canister or empty test strip container.
You can reuse syringes, ask your doctor how to keep them sterile. Reusing needles does dull them with each use also bends the tip. This may not be visible to the naked eye, but you will feel it when you use it again for injection! The thinner the needle, the faster it dulls; this will cause more pain upon injecting.
Trouble Shooting & Tips
Insulin Leaking Out of Injection Site
This can happen because either the dose was large and injected too quickly, or because the needle was removed too fast or not inserted deeply enough. This may affect your blood glucose for a while so be sure to check more often (not getting enough insulin leads to hyperglycemia). Next time try:
There are tiny blood vessels throughout the body including under the skin and interlaced in fat. From time-to-time everyone giving injections will hit one and a few drops of blood may result. This is nothing to be concerned about, however, if it happens a lot your technique may need improving. Your physician or diabetes educator can show you ways to inject without bleeding and with little or no pain involved.
Preparing Insulin Ahead of Time
Insulin that is not mixed is generally fine to pre-fill syringes, however, once insulin is mixed it needs to be used (some mix better than others). You can buy pre-mixed insulin or ask your doctor about the specific combination of insulin you use and if it is acceptable to prepare syringes ahead of time.
If you do prepare syringes ahead of time make sure that they are refrigerated. You need to make sure the needle side is point up because otherwise crystals may form in the needle making it harder to inject and less effective.
If you do this, you will have to warm the insulin in the syringe between the palm of your hands (just like you do when mixing insulin). This helps mix and warm the insulin. You can take insulin shots straight from the refrigerator, however, cold insulins more upon injection than does insulin warmed in the hands a few seconds.
Page Updated 08/12/2006