How To Self-Administer Insulin

How To Self-Administer Insulin

People with diabetes need to administer a subcutaneous insulin injection daily to manage their blood glucose levels. Here’s how to safely self-administer insulin.

If you suffer from diabetes, you can follow this 7-step guide to properly and safely administer insulin yourself, without any help.

7 Steps To Safely Self-Administer Insulin

Here are the steps to follow while administering insulin yourself:

1. Gather The Supplies

Get everything in one place before insulin self-administration, so that no inconvenience happens during the process. Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • Bottle of insulin;
  • A syringe with an intact needle and removed cap;
  • Cotton wipes soaked in alcohol;
  • A tightly closed metal container for used equipment.

Use warm water to wash your hands and wait until they are dried. Then it’s time to prepare the supplies.

2. Prepare The Insulin Vial

Here are four simple steps that will help you prepare the insulin vial (bottle) for injection:

  1. Remove the cap from the insulin bottle.
  2. Roll the insulin vial between your palms to mix its content. Do not shake the bottle though. Repeat the process two to three times to ensure proper mixing.
  3. Take the cotton dipped in alcohol and wipe the rubber part on top of the bottle.
  4. Set the bottle on the table.

3. Fill The Syringe

  1. Draw the air in the syringe by pulling the plunger.
  2. Insert the needle into the rubber top of the insulin bottle and turn the bottle upside down so that the needle is dipped into the insulin properly.
  3. Now draw the amount of insulin required into the syringe, measuring from the top.
  4. Check the syringe for air bubbles. Air bubbles are not necessarily harmful to the body; it just decreases the amount of insulin in the syringe.
  5. Remove the needle carefully from the bottle.

4. Insulin Injection Sites

Insulin injections are done on regular bases. So, it is important to know which body sites are better for injecting.

Rotating sites is essential because otherwise, you might form hardened plaques in the subcutaneous region resulting in poor insulin absorption.

Injection should be given at one to one and a half inches away from the last site to be safe.

The best place for insulin self-injection is in the belly (at least 2-3 inches aside from the belly button). Sites in front of the body are appropriate because they are accessible and convenient.

Besides the belly, there are other body sites where you can self-administer insulin, such as the thighs, the buttocks, or the upper arms.

5. Select And Clean Injection Sites

Prior to insulin self-administration, you must choose the right site and prepare it. Here’s how:

  1. Choose the site for injection.
  2. Avoid the navel region, groin, middle of the abdomen, or any scarred site.
  3. Clean the area with an alcohol wipe to ensure safety.

6. Inject Insulin

Here’s how to do the insulin injection:

  1. Hold the syringe barrel with the needle towards the body surface with your dominant hand.
  2. Remove the needle cap.
  3. Pinch a two to three-inch fold of the skin around the injection site with the other hand.
  4. Insert the needle quickly at a 90-degree angle to your skin and push it deep inside.
  5. Press the plunger and empty the insulin into the body.
  6. Pull out the needle, and if bleeding occurs, apply pressure with an alcohol wipe. Do not rub the injection site unnecessarily.

7. Dispose Of The Syringe And Needle

It is very important that the needle and syringe used once should never be used again to prevent unnecessary infections.

So, after self-injecting insulin, dispose of the needle and syringe in the special container. Make sure that the needle cap properly covers the needle.

Administering Mixed Insulin

There are different types of insulin created by various pharmaceutical companies such as Avara.

If you are prescribed to have a mixed dose by your doctor, make sure that you follow the proper instructions to draw two doses in the same syringe.

Basically, injecting mixed insulin is the same as described above, but during step 3, you’ll have to fill the syringe with two types of insulin: clear and cloudy.

First, draw the clear insulin into the syringe, then the cloudy type. And then follow the remaining steps.

The Takeaway

If you’re a diabetes sufferer and want to give yourself the insulin shot, follow the 7-step strategy above.

It guides you through everything, from preparing the supplies and filling the syringe to injecting the insulin and disposing of the used items.

Anyway, make sure to stick to every step for proper and safe insulin self-administration.

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