a diabetic patient giving herself an insulin injection at her stomach

To prepare for an insulin injection, you need to:

  • fill the syringe with the right amount of insulin
  • decide which part of your body to inject
  • know how to inject

preparing to inject insulin

Step 1: Get Ready

Have everything you need before you inject. Get ready your insulin, needles, syringes, alcohol wipes and a container for throwing away used needles and syringes.

Related: Why Do I Need Insulin Injections?

Step 2: Decide Where to Inject

Insulin works best when you inject it into the fatty parts of your body just under the skin. If you inject insulin too deep into the muscle, insulin will enter the blood too quickly. This can cause your blood glucose levels to drop too low.

Each time you inject insulin, you should select a different spot on your body. For example, you can inject different areas of your abdomen. You can also inject your upper arm, thigh or buttocks.

To help you remember, keep a chart of the areas you have injected.

Keep injection sites about an inch apart, and away from scars and your belly button. Do not inject into areas that are bruised, swollen or painful.

Related: How To Use An Insulin Pen

Step 3: How to Inject

Once you’ve selected the injection site, follow these steps:

  1. Clean and dry the injection site.
  2. Pinch up a large area of the skin around the injection site.
  3. With your other hand, insert the needle at a 90 degree angle. However, a 45 degree angle may be used in children or in an area where there is little fat.
  4. Push the needle all the way into the skin.
  5. Release the pinch on your skin and slowly push the plunger all the way in to inject the insulin.
  6. Pull out the needle.
  7. Return the used needle and syringe to the container and throw it away safely. Never reuse needles or syringes.

Related: How to Read an Insulin Syringe

How to Inject Insulin (Video)

Video courtesy of Singapore General Hospital.

Different Ways to Inject Insulin

There are different ways to inject insulin by using devices such as syringes, insulin pens, insulin pumps, and jet injectors. Your doctor will help you decide which suits you best.

  • Syringes. Syringes are commonly used to inject insulin and this is the most affordable option. They come in different sizes and should be thrown away after one use. Use smaller needles of 8, 6 or 4 millimetres so that the injection is less painful.
  • Insulin pens They come as disposable pens or reusable ones in which insulin cartridges can be changed when empty. You can adjust the insulin dosage by twisting a dose dial on the pen.

Know everything you need about insulin jabs. Ask your doctor or nurse to show you how to:

  • prepare insulin
  • inject insulin
  • rotate the injection site
  • store insulin
  • keep a record of how much insulin you use

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