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Precautions when reusing insulin syringes

Some people with diabetes use their insulin syringes more than once to save money. Talk with your doctor before reusing your syringes. Some people with diabetes should not reuse their syringes, including people who have:

  • Trouble seeing clearly.
  • Trouble using their hands.
  • Infections or open wounds.

Some precautions to take if you reuse syringes:

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  • Put the cover back on the needle after use. The safest way to do this is to place the cover and syringe on a flat surface and slide the cover over the needle without letting the needle touch either the flat surface or your fingers. Only the inside of the cover should touch the needle. Do not hold the syringe straight up; you may accidentally stick yourself.
  • Do not clean the needle with alcohol. Alcohol removes the silicone covering on the needle, causing it to become dull.
  • Store the syringes at room temperature. It is best to store them with the covered needle pointing up to prevent insulin from blocking the needle opening.

Dispose of reused syringes in safe containers when:

  • The shot hurts when you use the syringe.
  • The needle becomes dull. Needles usually are dull after being used more than 5 times.
  • The needle is bent or has touched something other than your skin.
  • You notice redness or signs of infection at the place where you have given the shot. Let your doctor know if you have an infection.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
Last Revised January 9, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 09, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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If the level is below 70 and 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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