Using and Storing Insulin
How and where to inject insulin
Before injecting, please read the injection instructions that come with the insulin, or visit the website provided on the packaging for detailed instructions.
Injections can be given in the layer of fat right under the skin in the following sites:
- Stomach area/abdomen (inject at least 2 inches away from the belly button, scars, and moles)
- Thighs (top and outer)
- Back of the upper arm
- Buttocks or hip (in the “wallet area”) (this spot is not appropriate for all insulin, so double-check with a health care provider first)
Rotating injection sites can help protect skin
To avoid lumps or scar tissue buildup, the insulin injection should not be given in the same exact spot every day. Here’s an example: If insulin is injected in the stomach area in the morning, then inject in the thigh in the afternoon and upper arm that night before bed. Rotating injection sites within the same general area is also recommended for some people. Also, you may want to change the injection site within that area each month. There are many ways to rotate injection sites. However, insulin may work either faster or slower depending on where the injection site is, so talk to your diabetes care team about which method might work best for you.
Important tips to remember when storing insulin and/or prefilled insulin pens:
- Follow all the instructions on the label
- Keep new, unopened vials or pens in the refrigerator, but do not freeze and do not use a container if it has been frozen
- Keep it out of sunlight
- Do not store it in the glove compartment or trunk of the car where it can get too hot
Throwing needles away
Do not throw away used needles in household trash or recycling bins. After using a needle, carefully place it in a “sharps container,” which is a hard plastic or metal container that has a secure lid. Sharps containers can be bought at the local pharmacy where diabetes supplies are sold. A plastic bleach jug, plastic milk jug, empty detergent bottle, or other plastic bottle that you can’t see through may also be used. Always seal and dispose of the container properly according to local or state laws.