When you are injecting insulin, you should aim to inject into the fatty tissue just underneath the skin.
If you think you are injecting into the muscle, you may want to change your technique or ask your GP to prescribe shorter needles.
The steps below are a broad guide to injecting insulin.
If you plan to change your technique, check with your healthcare team, diabetic nurse or consultant for their advice.
How to perform an insulin injection
You will need:
- An insulin pen
- Enough insulin inside to give the required dose
- A new pen needle
- Cotton wool or a tissue
Make sure you have your kit available at all times and if possible, inform your family as to its location.
If you suffer from a hypo, this will allow your family to act quickly.
Injecting your insulin shot
To perform your insulin injection:
- Wherever possible, wash your hands with soap and water before injecting
- Put a new needle onto your pen
- Perform an ‘air shot’ of at least 2 units to clear any bubbles out of the needle – if you do not get a steady stream, repeat the air shot until you do get a steady stream
- Dial up your dose – how you do this exactly may depend on which pen you have
- Pick a soft fatty area to inject – tops of thighs, belly, bum and triceps (not always recommended for children or thinner people)
- Raise a fold of fatty flesh slightly between your thumb and fingers – leaving plenty of space between to put the needle in
- Put the needle in – if you are particularly slim, you may need to put the needle in at a 45 degree angle to avoid injecting into the muscle
- Push the plunger, to inject the dose, relatively slowly
- After the dose has been injected, hold the needle in for a good 10 seconds to prevent too much insulin from escaping out
- If any blood or insulin escapes, wipe this with cotton wool or a tissue
- Ensure that the used needle into a sharps bin is deposited into a sharps bin