Day-to-Day Care


Home Treatment:  Insulin Injection

Insulin injection is essential in the daily regime for many diabetics.  It helps to control high blood sugar and hence prevents complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.  There are many types of insulin available and they are differ by how fast they start to work and how long their effects last.  Your doctor will help decide which insulin is right for the person.



Safety Rules for Insulin User


To ensure that the person receives insulin from the same source and of the same type and concentration, always buy insulin from the same pharmacy.


Check the expiration date on the package and look for changes in appearance.  Discard insulin that is discolored or contains solid particles.  Injecting insulin that is expired or contaminated with bacteria can lead to high blood sugar or cause infection at the injection site.


Always keep a spare bottle of insulin on hand.


Store insulin in the refrigerator until it is opened.  After a bottle has been opened, it may be kept at room temperature for one month.  Discard the insulin after the expiration date or after being kept at room temperature for a month.


Never freeze insulin or expose it to extremely hot temperatures or direct sunlight.


Insulin syringes come in different sizes.  Use the correct size syringe to make sure you get the right dose of insulin.


Do not keep injecting at the same site.  Rotate the site of injections can prevent or reduce indentations, hard lumps or thickened skin in areas where insulin is injected.


Make sure meal is taken at prescribe time after insulin injection to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).


Always inform your healthcare professionals that the person is taking insulin.  Never assume that they are familiar with the person's medical history.


If you are giving the person any medication other than his insulin, including over-the-counter products, find out if they are suitable for people with diabetes.  Consult your doctor before administering.



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Giving Insulin Injection


Wash your hands with soap and water.


Divert the person's attention from the injection through conversation.


Roll the insulin bottle between your hands for about one minute to resuspend the insulin preparation and also to warm the medication.  Cold insulin can cause discomfort when injected.  Do not shake the insulin bottle because shaking causes foaming and bubbles to form which may trap particles of insulin and alter the dosage.


If you use alcohol swab to clean the injection site, allow it to dry thoroughly before injecting insulin.  This is because when alcohol gets into the underlying tissue, it may cause redness and some slight swelling at the injection site.


Insulin may be injected into any area of your body where a layer of fatty tissue is present and where large blood vessels, nerves, muscles and bones are not too close to the surface.  Insulin is best injected into the abdomen because of quick and consistent absorption.  However, avoid the 2-inch circle around the navel, which does not absorb as well.  Also avoid injecting in hard lumps, indentations or thickened skin because insulin will not be well absorbed in these areas.


Cleanse the stopper of the insulin bottle with alcohol swab.  Inject air, equal to the dose of insulin to be withdrawn, into the vial of insulin.  Turn the vial upside-down and pull the plunger towards you just beyond the required units.  Tap the plunger to allow air bubbles to escape then push the plunger to the required insulin dose.  Pull bottle away from the syringe.  Do not touch the needle tip.


Pinch the skin area firmly with the other hand to elevate the subcutaneous tissue.  This will also helps to tighten the skin which make needle penetration easier. Insert the needle smoothly and quickly to minimise tissue pulling which causes discomfort.  Do not change the direction of the needle during the injections.  Hold the syringe steady while the needle remains in tissues.  Release the skin and inject the insulin by pushing the plunger all the way in.  Remove the syringe and press injected site with a cotton wool.  Do not rub.


Record the dose given in your notebook.


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