To give your child insulin shots you will need to learn:
Your healthcare provider will tell you what kind of insulin to use, the dosage, and how often you should give your child a shot.
There are several brands of disposable insulin syringes with different needle widths and lengths. Insulin syringes should have thin, short, sharp needles so they are easy to insert.
The amount of insulin a syringe can hold also varies. Insulin is measured in units. Syringes have markings on the side that measure the units. If you have questions about your needles or syringes, ask a pharmacist who is familiar with your type of insulin and dosage.
Your healthcare team will show you how to draw the insulin into the syringe. These are the steps:
Continue with steps 8 and 9 if you need to add intermediate-acting insulin to the same syringe. If you want to have both hands free, you can leave the syringe stuck in the rapid-acting insulin bottle until you have mixed the intermediate-acting insulin.
One problem with insulin bottles is that a vacuum can develop that will draw the insulin in the syringe back into the bottle. To avoid this problem, you can do one of two things:
Pick one day of the week--for example, Sunday--to vent the bottles.
Insulin is injected into the fat layer beneath the skin. The best places to give insulin are the belly, upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. You should change where you give the shots each time. There are different sites where you can give the shots and different places in each site for shots. For example, the thigh is one site and there might be 6 different places on the thigh that you can use. This way your child can have a shot in over 50 different spots before having to have a shot in the same place again. This is called rotating the shots. Rotating injection sites helps prevent swelling. You can skip areas where your child doesn’t like to get the shots.
It is important to learn the proper technique for giving an insulin shot.
To inject the insulin:
Ideally, insulin should be stored in the refrigerator and warmed to room temperature before you use it. You can warm it up by holding a filled syringe between your hands for a minute or two. If you warm the insulin to room temperature, it’s less likely to sting or cause red spots on the skin.
Research has shown that insulin stored at room temperature loses a small percentage of its potency every month. For most people, this small change will not make a difference. Insulin will spoil if it gets above 90°F (32.2°C) or if it freezes. Insulin bottles and pens should not be left in a car in the summer or winter. Ask your pharmacist how your insulin should be stored.
Watch your child's blood sugar levels carefully when the insulin bottle is almost empty. If the blood sugar starts to be unusually high or low, the last bit of insulin should be thrown out. Also throw insulin away if:
Plastic syringes are recommended for one-time use only. If for some reason you need to reuse a syringe, after giving a shot, push the plunger up and down to get rid of any insulin left in the needle. Wipe the needle off with an alcohol swab. Put the cap over the needle and store the syringe and needle in the refrigerator until the next time you need to use it.
Needles of syringes that are reused several times may get dull from going through the rubber stopper on the insulin bottle over and over. A dull needle may cause more damage to your child's skin and tissues. There is also a possibility of infection if you reuse syringes.