One of the most important and basic things to do when using insulin is the injection technique.
I often find that patient are not 100% accurate when doing the insulin injections.
The following Tips and explanations are a MUST when doing your insulin injections.
Change the needle every injection
Using the same needle for different injections is overrated!
Studies made by different companies have shown that the needle bends and gets different shapes when they are re-used. This means that the skin’s damages will become more frequent leading to all kind of complications, even having impact on blood sugars!
For more info on this very important topic have a read on our article 5 Tips For Healthy Injection Sites
Remove the needle from the pen
One of the studies shows what happens to needles when you kept them in the pen. Apart from the risk of bacterial infections that the insulin can get, it is possible that air comes inside the pen.
This will put you at risk to inject air and not insulin meaning that the insulin dose you are dialling can be a combination of insulin and air and not only insulin.
If you have air bubbles inside the insulin pen, dispose this pen and start using a new one.
Prime the insulin pen
What do I mean by this?
Basically, when you use a new needle in your pen, meaning every time you are going to inject insulin, this needle is empty, there is no insulin inside it.
As you can imagine, if the needle is not filled with insulin and you dial your normal dose and inject the insulin straight away, you are doing two things:
- Injecting a minimal amount of air in your skin (the air inside the needle)
- Not getting exactly the insulin dose you are supposed to
Do the following experience:
- Put a new needle in the pen
- Dial 1 unit in your pen
- Waste this unit in the pen in the air
Did insulin come off the needle ending? Yes? No?
If yes, this means that you could be losing 1 unit of insulin on that injection if you didn’t fill the needle with insulin in the first place.
If not, keep dialling and wasting the insulin units in the air until you see insulin coming out of the needle. You will find how much units of insulin you are not actually taking when you dial your insulin dose and not priming your needle first.
Also, when filling the insulin pen, you can also check if the needle is fine, and not defaulted.
Shake your insulin pen before using
If you are using an insulin, usually mixed insulin type – rapid acting insulin + long acting insulin – that has a white colour in it, make sure you roll and shake the insulin pen until the colour is the same (white) along the pen.
If you do not do this, you won’t be injecting the insulin concentrations as expected because the insulin solution is not properly mixed.
Before injecting any insulin, make sure you look at the colour of it.
Insulin and temperatures
Temperatures change the insulin properties, making it less efficient.
Keep the spare insulin pens you have in the fridge.
Also, the insulin pen you are using at the moment must be in a place at the room temperature. So it means: no top of the microwave or near the oven or radiator.
These are small thing that you can do that can have impact on your blood sugars and diabetes control.
Are you more aware of the different aspects on insulin technique? Is there anything you are going to change from now on?