Steps in Administering an Insulin Injection

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Control with Insulin— the Techniques

There is nothing quite complicated about an insulin injection. A patient typically learns how to administer it from the doctor or nurse. Moreover, the whole process is presented through pictures in various pamphlets which can be obtained free of charge from the American Diabetes Association, Eli Lilly & Co. or from E R. Squibb and Sons.

Still, the process is so important that it is worth reviewing:
1. The syringe and needle should be sterilized by boiling in water for about five minutes or by steady immersion in alcohol in a "Steritube" or similar case. In the event such a case is employed, then it, the syringe and needle should be sterilized by boiling at least once every two weeks. Because hard water tends to cake the syringe and needle, be sure soft water is used. If necessary, use distilled water or a commercial water softener. Hard water can normally be detected by a whitish residue it leaves as it boils away.
2. Be sure the insulin to be used is totally mixed in the vial. Only globin, regular, and crystal-line-zinc insulins require no mixing. If a mixture of insulins is done in the syringe, make sure they're well mixed.
3. Be mindful to eject any water or alcohol from the syringe.
4. Wash the site of the injection using soap and water, then apply alcohol with a cotton dab. Injections must be made in the arms, legs, or abdomen, and a different site in another area must be used every time.
5. Wipe the rubber stopper in the insulin vial with another piece of cotton wet with alcohol. Don't ever remove the stopper.
6. Set the plunger of your syringe at the mark indicating your dose.
7. Stick the needle through the rubber stopper of the vial and push the plunger completely in. This should force air into the vial.
8. Turn the vial gradually upside down several times, then with the vial upside down, pull the plunger back to the mark showing your dose. When there are any air bubbles in the syringe, push the plunger in slowly then pull it back to your proper dosage mark again. Be utterly sure your proper dose is in the syringe before you pull away the needle from the vial.
9. As opposed to most instructions, there is no need to pinch the skin. Hold it steady and stick the needle into the site of the injection promptly and deeply with the needle going straight in, never at an angle. Push the plunger in slowly as far as it would go.
10. Hold the piece of cotton wet with alcohol-lightly over the patch where the needle enters the skin. Then extract the needle, continuing to hold the cotton on the skin for a couple of seconds. Don't rub the injection site. Just continue pressing.
11. Take the syringe apart and rinse using clear water or, if a Steritube or Vim case is being used, place it back to the tube.

These are the steps in administering an insulin injection. It is significant to observe them carefully to prevent contaminating the insulin, as well as the danger of injecting too much or not enough insulin. The process is not at all complex once it is practiced a few times. Child diabetics, no more than four years of age, have been instructed to give themselves their own injections.