THE DIABETES CAREGIVER: Insulin
Tips on how to administer this life-saving serum
Insulin pumps, insulin pens and inhaled insulin are revolutionizing the way insulin is administered, but insulin injections are still commonplace among people with diabetes, especially those with type 1 diabetes.
Before attempting to give insulin injections, consult a certified diabetes educator (CDE) and follow the instructions that come with the insulin starter kit, advises Jean Kostak, Jean Kostak, M.S., R.D., CD-N, C.D.E., is the program coordinator for the Diabetes Education Program at the UConn Health Center.
Tips for administering insulin vary according to the injection site—usually the stomach, thigh, arm or buttock. The Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, however, offers this general advice to assist you:
Avoid the inner thigh because of the many blood vessels and nerves there.
If rotating sites around the same injection area, keep injections an inch (or two fingers' width) apart.
Avoid injecting scar tissue, because it might interfere with absorption.
Although refrigerating insulin is recommended, cold insulin sometimes makes injections more painful. If that is a problem, you can store the insulin bottle you are using at room temperature for up to a month but avoid temperature extremes.
If using an insulin pen, inject straight on and hold the pen in place for several seconds after the insulin is ejected.
Insulin sometimes spoils, so always check the expiration date and examine the contents for clarity. If the insulin appears cloudy or contains particles, do not use it; return unopened bottles to the pharmacy.