Insulin injections: How to inject

It is only natural to be anxious about injecting yourself, particularly if you are new to insulin therapy. Your anxiety may partly be "fear of the unknown" because you are unsure about what to expect. You will soon find that you adapt to your new treatment and it becomes part of your life, with little disturbance to your daily routine. Your diabetes healthcare team will be able to guide you through how to use insulin and you will discover lots of ways of reducing the pain of injections to make them as comfortable as possible.

If you are new to insulin injections, ask your diabetes healthcare team to show you how to inject. The following ten steps to injecting insulin is a good guide to the kind of advice your healthcare team is likely to give you.

  1. You do not need to disinfect your skin but good hygiene is important, so make sure you wash your hands before injections.
  2. Eject a tiny amount of insulin into the air to ensure that the needle is filled with insulin.
  3. If you have been advised to use the "two-finger pinch", lift the skin with your thumb and index finger.
  4. Make sure the needle is turned the correct way around, with the sharp tip facing towards the skin and the eye of the needle facing outwards.
  5. Hold the needle at an angle of 90° to the skin's surface.
  6. Hold the skin fold and inject the insulin.
  7. If you are using an insulin pen, count to 10 slowly to prevent insulin dripping from the needle. You only need to wait a few seconds if you are using a syringe.
  8. Withdraw the needle.
  9. Let go of the skin fold.
  10. Dispose of the needle safely, in a proper "sharps" box.


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