How and Where to Give Insulin Injections, Adult

People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin since their bodies do not make it. People with type 2 diabetes may require insulin. There are many different types of insulin. The type of insulin you take will determine how many injections you will take and when to take the injections.

CHOOSING A SITE FOR INJECTION

Insulin absorption varies from site to site. It is best to inject insulin within the same body region. Do not inject the insulin in the same spot for each injection. There are 4 main regions that can be used for injecting. The regions include the:

  • Abdomen (this is the preferred site).

  • Front and upper outer sides of thighs.

  • Back of upper arm.

  • Buttocks.

USING A SYRINGE AND VIAL

Drawing up insulin: single insulin dose

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.

  2. Warm the medicine by gently rolling the bottle (vial) between your hands. Do not shake the vial.

  3. Clean the top rubber part of the vial with an alcohol wipe. Be sure that the plastic pop-top has been removed on newer vials.

  4. Remove the plastic cover from the needle on the syringe. Do not let the needle touch anything.

  5. Pull the plunger back to draw air into the syringe. The air should be the same amount as the insulin dose.

  6. Push the needle through the rubber on the top of the vial. Do not turn the vial over.

  7. Push the plunger in all the way to put the air into the vial.

  8. Leave the needle in the vial and turn the vial and syringe upside down.

  9. Pull down slowly on the plunger, drawing the amount of insulin you need into the syringe.

  10. Look for air bubbles in the syringe. You may need to push the plunger up and down 2 to 3 times to slowly get rid of any air bubbles in the syringe.

  11. Pull back the plunger to get your correct dose.

  12. Remove the needle from the vial.

  13. Use an alcohol wipe to clean the area of the body to be injected.

  14. Pinch up 1 inch of skin and hold it.

  15. Put the needle straight into the skin (90-degree angle). Put the needle in as far as it will go (to the hub). The needle may need to be injected at a 45-degree angle in small adults with little fat.

  16. When the needle is in, you can let go of your skin.

  17. Push the plunger down all the way to inject the insulin.

  18. Pull the needle straight out of the skin.

  19. Press the alcohol wipe over the spot where you gave your injection. Keep it there for a few seconds. Do not rub the area.

  20. Do not put the plastic cover back on the needle.

Drawing up insulin: mixing 2 insulins

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.

  2. Roll the vial of "cloudy" insulin between your hands or rotate the vial from top to bottom to mix.

  3. Clean the top of both vials with an alcohol wipe. Be sure that the plastic pop-top lid has been removed on newer vials.

  4. Pull air into the syringe to equal the dose of "cloudy" insulin.

  5. Stick the needle into the "cloudy" insulin vial and inject the air. Be sure to keep the vial upright.

  6. Remove the needle from the "cloudy" insulin vial.

  7. Pull air into the syringe to equal the dose of "clear" insulin.

  8. Stick the needle into the "clear" insulin vial and inject the air.

  9. Leave the needle in the "clear" insulin vial and turn the vial upside down.

  10. Pull down on the plunger and slowly draw into the syringe the number of units of "clear" insulin desired.

  11. Look for air bubbles in the syringe. You may need to push the plunger up and down 2 to 3 times to slowly get rid of any air bubbles in the syringe.

  12. Remove the needle from the "clear" insulin vial.

  13. Stick the needle into the "cloudy" insulin vial. Do not inject any of the "clear" insulin into the "cloudy" vial.

  14. Turn the "cloudy" vial upside down and pull the plunger down to the number of units that equals the total number of units of "clear" and "cloudy" insulins.

  15. Remove the needle from the "cloudy" insulin vial.

  16. Use an alcohol wipe to clean the area of the body to be injected.

  17. Put the needle straight into the skin (90-degree angle). Put the needle in as far as it will go (to the hub). The needle may need to be injected at a 45-degree angle in small adults with little fat.

  18. When the needle is in, you can let go of your skin.

  19. Push the plunger down all the way to inject the insulin.

  20. Pull the needle straight out of the skin.

  21. Press the alcohol wipe over the spot where you gave your injection. Keep it there for a few seconds. Do not rub the area.

  22. Do not put the plastic cover back on the needle.

USING INSULIN PENS

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.

  2. If you are using the "cloudy" insulin, roll the pen between your palms several times or rotate the pen top to bottom several times.

  3. Remove the insulin pen cap.

  4. Clean the rubber stopper of the cartridge with an alcohol wipe.

  5. Remove the protective paper tab from the disposable needle.

  6. Screw the needle onto the pen.

  7. Remove the outer plastic needle cover.

  8. Remove the inner plastic needle cover.

  9. Prime the insulin pen by turning the button (dial) to 2 units. Hold the pen with the needle pointing up, and push the dial on the opposite end until a drop of insulin appears at the needle tip. If no insulin appears, repeat this step.

  10. Dial the number of units of insulin you will inject.

  11. Use an alcohol wipe to clean the area of the body to be injected.

  12. Pinch up 1 inch of skin and hold it.

  13. Put the needle straight into the skin (90-degree angle).

  14. Push the dial down to push the insulin into the fat tissue.

  15. Count to 10 slowly. Then, remove the needle from the fat tissue.

  16. Carefully replace the larger outer plastic needle cover over the needle and unscrew the capped needle.

THROWING AWAY SUPPLIES

  • Discard used needles in a puncture proof sharps disposal container. Follow disposal regulations for the area where you live.

  • Vials and empty disposable pens may be thrown away in the regular trash.