Insulin is a peptide hormone that is produced in the pancreas and helps the body’s cells utilize glucose for energy. It allows the glucose to travel from the blood into cells. As we know, there are two types of diabetes: type 1 and 2. In type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to produce insulin, while in type 2 diabetes, the body does not use insulin properly.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, but can be managed by adopting a few lifestyle changes such as following a proper diet, regular exercise, regular intake of prescribed medications, and proper and timely use of insulin. Individuals suffering from type 1 diabetes are required to inject insulin for the rest of their life. Although the very idea may seem laborious, one can learn to use and inject insulin with the right guidance from healthcare professionals and with practice.
Before injecting the insulin, be sure to check its quality. If the insulin was refrigerated, let it come to room temperature. If the insulin looks opaque, roll the insulin vial between your palms to mix the contents properly. One should not shake the insulin vial. Moreover, thickened, discolored, and grainy insulin should not be used.
Here are the steps to use and inject insulin properly.
It is important to wash your hands with soap and warm water. Gather paraphernalia such as needles and syringes, gauze, alcohol pads, medication vial, bandages, and needle and syringe disposal container.
Hold the syringe with the needle on top and pull the plunger till it reaches the mark corresponding to the required dose.
Remove the caps from the needle and insulin vial. In case the vial has been used before, be sure to wipe the stopper with an alcohol pad.
Plunge down the insulin from the vial to the syringe till it reaches the correct dosage level.
If you find bubbles in the syringe, tap it mildly. This will make the bubbles rise to the top and push the syringe to move the bubbles back to the vial. Now, pull the plunger down again. Remove your finger off the plunger and hold the syringe as you would a dart.
Pad the injection site with an alcohol swab and let it dry for a few seconds before you inject the needle.
To avoid injecting into the muscle, pinch the skin and insert the needle. Make sure that the needle is perpendicular to the skin’s surface. Now, you may push the plunger down and wait for about 10 seconds. Leave the pinched skin immediately after you push the plunger.
Dispose the needle and syringe in a puncture-resistant container.
Some useful tips
- Try not to inject in the roots of body hair
- You can use an ice cube to numb the skin before using an alcohol pad
- Maintain a chart to keep a track of the injection sites