Diabetes care: How to administer an insulin shot

Insulin is given to those who have both type 1 and 2 diabetes. It is important to note that with minimal or no insulin, sugar in the blood could not enter the cells to be utilized as energy. This causes the sugar in the blood to rise to an unsafe level.

Once the blood sugar rises above 10 mmol/L, the kidneys release sugar into the urine. As an outcome, dehydration occurs. If this occurs, the kidney produces less urine which indicates that the body could not get rid of the excess sugar which causes the blood sugar levels to elevate.

Preparation and administering an insulin shot

Insulin shot

Gather the necessary supplies which are usually stored in a bag or kit such as an insulin syringe, insulin bottles and alcohol wipes.

  • Wash hands under running water with soap and dry properly.
  • Gather the necessary supplies which are usually stored in a bag or kit such as an insulin syringe, insulin bottles and alcohol wipes.
  • Check the insulin cartridge or bottle. When using an insulin bottle for the first time, note down the date on the bottle. Insulin stored at room temperature can last for about a month. Carefully following the instructions on the label including proper storage and how long it will last.
  • Check the expiry date which is usually printed on the label.

Preparing the shot

The preparation depends on whether you are administering one type of insulin or combining 2 types.

When mixing types of insulin to be given in one syringe, follow these precautions:

  • When mixing NPH and short-acting regular insulin, it can be used right away or stored for later use. Make sure that it is not exposed to light and heat.
  • Insulin glargine and detemir could not be mixed with other types of insulin. These should not be given in a syringe used for another type.

In some cases, there is a need to prepare the insulin injections beforehand.

Preparing the site

  • Select the body part to inject. If the shots are given in different parts of the body each day, utilize the same site at the same time of the day.
  • If alcohol is used to clean the skin before a shot is given, make sure that it is dry.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on how to administer an insulin shot is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage diabetes with insulin by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.

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