To give your child insulin shots you will need to learn:
If you use a prefilled pen, the insulin is not drawn from one container into another. The pen has a little plunger inside. When you set the dose on your pen, you are setting how far forward this plunger will move. This sets the amount of insulin that you get with each dose.
If you use a syringe, you also need to learn:
Syringes come in different needle widths and lengths. Insulin syringes have thin, short needles that are easy to insert.
The amount of insulin a syringe can hold varies. Insulin is measured in units. Syringes have markings on the side that measure the units. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you have questions about needles, syringes, insulin, or dosage.
Your healthcare provider will tell you what kind of insulin to use, the dosage, and how often you should give your child a shot. Make sure your child carries a written list of the type and dose of insulin he or she uses.
Insulin is injected into the fat layer beneath the skin. The best places to give insulin are the belly, upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. There are different spots in each area where you can give the shot. You should change where you give the shots each time. For example, 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 use the same place again. This is called rotating the shots. Rotating injection sites helps prevent irritation swelling.
It is important to learn the right way to give an insulin shot. Your healthcare provider or diabetes educator will show you the correct way to inject insulin.
It is best to store insulin in the refrigerator and warm it 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.
If insulin is stored at room temperature for more than 28 days, it may not be good. 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 risk of infection if you reuse syringes.