A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Administering Insulin Injections

self-administering insulin injections

If you have type 1 diabetes, you simply need insulin to stay alive. At first, this may come off very hard on you, but with time and practice, you can learn to administer insulin all by yourself. Here’s a little beginner’s guide to self-administering insulin injections, just to get you started.

Injection Methods

You should consult your doctor about deciding which technique suits you best. Even though syringes are the most commonly used way of insulin delivery, there are also insulin pumps, insulin injectors, and insulin pens. Note that syringes are the least expensive and that they need to be discarded after single use.

Injection Sites

When self-administering insulin injections, you should aim for the fatty tissue, which is just below the skin. This is the trickiest part, because if you inject the insulin deeper, straight into the muscle tissue, the body will absorb it much faster and lead to low blood glucose levels.

Make sure you rotate the injection sites on a daily basis. Abdomen, buttocks, arms, and thighs are the most commonly used sites.

How to Inject Properly?

Always check the quality of insulin before injection. Gather all the supplies and always wash your hands before injecting. Also, make sure you swab the injection site with an alcohol pad and let it dry for a few minutes before you insert the needle.

By pinching a small portion of your skin before insertion, you will avoid injecting the insulin into your muscle tissue. Insert the needle at a 90-degree angle and push the plunger. Wait for 10 seconds before removing the needle. If there is some minor bleeding after the injection, place a gauze over the injection site and apply slight pressure.

Needle and Syringe Disposal

Syringes and needles pose a risk to other people, so they need to be disposed of properly. Different states have different regulations, so it’s best the check beforehand at the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal web site.


Even though self-administering insulin injections may cause frustration and discomfort at first, it’s still something you can learn to live with. It doesn’t have to reduce the quality of your life.

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