insulin drawing are into syringe, photoHow do I give myself an insulin shot with a syringe?

Your diabetes nurse will teach you how to give yourself insulin and make sure you can do it right.

Follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Get all the supplies:
    • Insulin bottle
    • Insulin syringe
    • Alcohol swab
  3. insulin injecting air into vial, photoWipe the top of the insulin bottle with the alcohol swab.
  4. Pull back on the plunger of the syringe to the number of units you will take.
    • For example, if your insulin dose is 8 units, you need 8 units of air in the syringe.
  5. Put the needle through the rubber on the top of the insulin bottle.
  6. Inject all of the air into the bottle.
  7. Hold the needle in the bottle and turn the bottle upside down.
  8. Slowly pull back on the plunger to get insulin into the syringe.
    • You will see some small bubbles inside the syringe. The best way to look for bubbles is to hold the syringe up toward a light or window. Push the plunger to squirt all the insulin and air bubbles back into the bottle to get the bubbles out.
  9. insulin drawing insulin into syringe, photoSlowly pull back on the plunger again to get the correct amount of insulin in the syringe. Be sure there are no air bubbles. If you still see bubbles, repeat step 8.
  10. When you have the correct amount of insulin and no bubbles, you are ready to give the shot. Take the needle out of the bottle.
    • Do not to touch the needle to anything. This is how germs get on the needle. If that happens, throw the syringe into a sharps container and start all over.
  11. Find the area on your body where you will give the insulin.
  12. Gently pinch up the skin and quickly stick the needle straight into the skin at a 90 degree angle.
  13. Hold the needle in the skin and slowly push down on the plunger until all of the insulin is out of the syringe.
  14. Keep the needle in the skin and slowly count to 10 after all the insulin is in.
  15. Take the needle out of the skin after you finish counting.
  16. Injecting glucagon in thigh, photoLook at the place where the needle was in the skin. Look for any insulin that might have leaked out onto the skin.
    • If it did leak out, do not give yourself more insulin. Giving more insulin could cause a low blood sugar if you give yourself too much.
    • Make a note on your blood sugar record sheet that the insulin leaked.
    • If your blood sugar is high at your next check you will know the reason why.
    • Count to 15 or 20 if you are always seeing insulin leak onto the skin.
  17. Throw the used syringe in a medical sharps or a puncture-proof container, such as a liquid detergent bottle or empty soda pop bottle.
    • You can buy a medical sharps container at a pharmacy.

How do I give myself a shot with an insulin pen?

Insulin pens are a convenient and accurate way to give insulin safely and easily.

There are 2 types of insulin pens:

  • Disposable pen, pre-filled with insulin
  • A cartridge of insulin you load into a pen device

Your diabetes nurse will help you decide which pen is best for you.

Follow these steps:

  1. Get the pen ready:
    • Wash your hands.
    • Get out your insulin pen and pen needle.
    • Pull the paper tab off the pen needle.
    • Screw the needle onto the end of the pen.
    • Take off the outer needle cover and then the inside needle cover.
    • Save the outer cover for later.
    • Do not touch the needle to anything. This is how germs get on the needle. If this happens, throw the needle in a sharps container and start over.
  2. Prime the insulin pen.
    • It is important to get all of the air out of the pen needle so that the correct amount of insulin is given. This is called “priming” the pen or doing an  “air shot.”
      • Turn the dial knob on the end of the pen to 1 or 2 units.
      • Hold the pen with the needle pointing up to the ceiling and push the knob in all the way. You should see at least 3 drops of insulin squirt out the end of the pen needle.
      • Check the dial to be sure the dose window changes back to zero after you prime the pen.
  3. Dial up your insulin dose and give the injection.
    • Turn the dial knob to the number of units of your insulin pen.
      • If you go too far you can dial it backwards.
    • Double check your dose with a responsible person.
    • Find the area on your body where you will give the insulin.
    • Gently pinch up the skin and quickly stick the needle straight into the skin at a 90 degree angle.
    • Hold the needle in the skin and use your thumb to push down on the dial knob until it stops.
    • Check to be sure the dose window is at zero.
    • Keep the needle in the skin and slowly count to 10 after all the insulin is in.
    • After you finish counting, take the needle out of the skin.
    • Look at the place where the needle was in the skin. Look for any insulin that might have leaked out onto the skin.
      • If it did leak out, do not give yourself more insulin. That could cause a low blood sugar if you give yourself too much.
      • Make a note on your blood sugar record sheet that the insulin leaked.
      • If your blood sugar is high at your next check, you will know the reason why.
      • Try counting to 15 or 20 if you are always seeing insulin leak onto the skin.
    • Put the outer needle cover over the pen needle and twist it to unscrew the needle.
    • Throw the used pen needle in a medical sharps or puncture-proof container, such as a liquid detergent bottle or empty soda pop bottle.
      • You can buy a medical sharps container at a pharmacy.
    • Put the cover back on the pen to keep it clean.

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