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Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot for Diabetes

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Rotate Insulin Injection Sites

Because you will be injecting insulin on a regular basis for diabetes, you need to know where to inject it and how to rotate (move) your injection sites. By rotating your injection sites, you will make your injections easier, safer, and more comfortable. If the same injection site is used over and over again, you may develop hardened areas under the skin that keep the insulin from being used properly.

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.
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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