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Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot for Diabetes

(continued)

Rotate Insulin Injection Sites continued...

Important: Only use the sites on the front of your body for self-injection. Any of the sites may be used if someone else is giving you the injection.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or health educator which sites you should use.
  • Move the site of each injection. Inject at least 1 1/2 inches away from the last injection site.
  • Try to use the same general injection area at the same time of each day (for example, use the abdomen for the injection before lunch). Note: The abdomen absorbs insulin the fastest, followed by the arms, thighs, and buttocks.
  • Keep a record of which injection sites you have used.

Select and Clean the Injection Site

Choose an injection site for your insulin shot.

Do not inject near joints, the groin area, navel, the middle of the abdomen, or near scars.

Clean the injection site (about 2 inches of your skin) in a circular motion with an alcohol wipe or a cotton ball dampened with rubbing alcohol. Leave the alcohol wipe or cotton ball nearby.

Inject the Insulin

Using the hand you write with, hold the barrel of the syringe (with the needle end down) like a pen, being careful not to put your finger on the plunger.

  • Remove the needle cap.
  • With your other hand, gently pinch a two- to three-inch fold of skin on either side of the cleaned injection site.
  • Insert the needle with a quick motion into the pinched skin at a 90-degree angle (straight up and down). The needle should be all the way into your skin.
  • Push the plunger of the syringe until all of the insulin is out of the syringe.
  • Quickly pull the needle out. Do not rub the injection site. You may or may not bleed after the injection. If you are bleeding, apply light pressure with the alcohol wipe. Cover the injection site with a bandage if necessary.

Dispose of the Syringe and Needle

Do not cap the needle. Drop the entire syringe and needle into your container for used "sharps" equipment. When the container is full, put the lid or cover on it and throw it away with the trash.

Do NOT put this container in the recycling bin. Some communities have specific disposal laws. Check with your local health department for specific disposal instructions in your community.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 27, 2013
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