The Ins and Outs of Giving and Taking Insulin
- All people with T1D require insulin for their treatment.
- Some people with T2D may treat their diabetes with insulin and/or with medicines or exercise/weight loss.
- Insulin can only be given as a shot. Insulin cannot be given as a pill because the acid in the stomach would destroy the insulin.
- It is very important to know what types of insulin you or your child are taking.
Types of Insulin
There are many types of insulin available today. They fall into three main categories: rapid-acting insulin, intermediate-acting insulin and long-acting insulin.
To learn more about the different insulin types, download this PDF.
Drawing up Insulin
- It is important to be comfortable with drawing up insulin.
- Air bubbles are a problem because they take away from the insulin dose you are supposed to be giving.
- When in doubt, throw it out. If you think you drew up the insulin the wrong way, throw out that syringe and start again.
To learn how to draw up insulin, download this PDF.
Using an Insulin Pen
You may be using an insulin pen to deliver a dose of insulin. Insulin pens are devices designed to make giving insulin a little easier. They look much like a pen and cap (this is where the name comes from) and come pre-filled with 300 units of insulin. A knob at the end of the pen dials up the insulin dose. In most cases, each click that you hear is equal to 1 unit of insulin. The pens may be reused until they run out of insulin; at which point the entire pen is thrown out and a new one is started.
To learn more about using insulin pens, download this PDF.
- Insulin is given into the fat tissue.
- Rotate sites— use a different site for each injection.
- Insulin needs to be given at the same time everyday— no more than a 30 minute difference on a daily basis.
- Remember to let go of the pinch BEFORE taking the syringe out (otherwise you can squeeze out the insulin).
Tips for Making Insulin Injections Easier
Here are some ways to help make giving insulin injections easier for your child.