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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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