Diabetic Insulin Syringes

When you depend on insulin to control your glucose levels, having an insulin injection device is an absolute necessity. Having the right system can help you stay compliant with your regimen, which leads to better overall outcomes for you in your life. By maintaining your blood sugar at appropriate levels you can avoid the dips and crashes that often accompany diabetes.

To help with compliance, a number of delivery systems are available. Some of these delivery systems provide insulin on a set schedule automatically (an insulin pump). Insulin pens deliver a predetermined dose of insulin discretely. Insulin syringes can be more economical, and they allow you to mix insulin types if you need to.
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How to Choose an Injection Device

Various factors determine the type of device that is best for you. You will need to think about how much insulin you require, and how often you will need to get it. You will want one that is easy for you to operate. How well you can see to administer your dosage will come into play. Cost, along with how much of that cost, if any, your insurance covers is a component. Don't forget to factor in related supplies and their price. Your occupation and your daily routine have an impact.

Talking with your professional healthcare team about these aspects can help you select the right solution for your situation.

Do I Need a Prescription to Buy an Insulin Syringe or Pen?

  • The following states require a prescription to buy diabetic syringes:
    • Alaska
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Illinois
    • Maine
    • New Jersey
  • *For more information, please visit Children with Diabetes.
  • Most pre-filled pens require a prescription as they come with insulin.

What Size of Syringe Do I Need?

  • The barrel size you need depends on your dosage.
  • 3/10-cc Syringe: used for administering 30 units or less - graduated markings are often in 1/2 units.
  • 1/2-cc Syringe: used for doses of 30 to 50 units - graduated markings are typically in 1 unit measurements.
  • 1-cc Syringe: used for 50 to 100 unit - graduated markings are in 2 unit measurements.

How to Choose Needle Size

Diabetic insulin needles come in three lengths, 3/16-inch, 5/16-inch, and 1/2-inch. Insulin needles also range in diameter (gauge) from 28 to 31. The higher the number, the smaller the diameter. While thinner needles usually cause less pain, they also take longer to insert your dosage.

As for length, needles that are too short may not reach the subcutaneous fat. Many adults prefer 1/2-inch insulin needles for their treatment. Large children often use the 5/16-inch, with small children using the shortest needle.

How Long are Insulin Syringes Good?

Insulin syringes with needles have a shelf-life of five years when stored in a temperate, dry area. Rotate them after five years to ensure smooth functionality.

Insulin Syringe vs. Insulin Pen

In the United States, insulin needles and syringes are much more common. They cost less money and can be easier to use for those with arthritis or impaired vision. Also, you can use just one syringe to mix multiple types of insulin.

An insulin pen, on the other hand, is often more accurate for small dosages of five units or less. A few mixed-type insulin formulas are available. Pens come as pre-mixed or with a refill cartridge option, along with replaceable insulin pen needles.

*Note: Never reuse or share diabetic needles. They lose an edge to their sharpness upon use, making them more painful and harder to insert. Plus, they lose their lubricant coating. Sharing needles carries the risk of contracting diseases.

How to Load Your Syringe

  1. Take your vial of insulin, and if you use more than one type, make sure that it is the correct one.
  2. Examine the insulin for clumps or particles, along with the expiration date.
  3. Discard any expired insulin.
  4. Get a fresh syringe.
  5. When taking your dose of intermediate-acting or pre-mixed insulin, first hold the vial sideways and roll it between the palms of your hands.
  6. Take the cap off (for new vials only).
  7. Take the top off of the needle and pull the plunger to draw in air. Stop when the tip of the plunger reaches the line of your dosage volume.
  8. Push the tip of the needle through the stopper on the vial.
  9. Hold the vial upside-down.
  10. Press the plunger to the end to push out all the air into the vial.
  11. Draw insulin into the vial by pulling the plunger downward.
  12. Stop when you have the desired amount.
  13. Check for air bubbles.
  14. If there are any large bubbles present, push the plunger back in until the bubbles are gone.
  15. Pull the plunger back down to finish filling the syringe.
  16. Take the needle out of the bottle, making sure that nothing touches the needle until after the injection.

How Many Times Can an Insulin Syringe Be Used?

Becton Dickenson, one of the largest manufacturers, recommends that you use each syringe once. For syringes with an attached needle, do not reuse. If you can replace the needles, then reusing the syringe is possible, but not preferred.

Tips for Using Your Insulin Syringes

  1. Choose a different spot for each new injection. (It is best if you follow a predetermined pattern.) Doing so helps prevent inflammation or fat tissue break-down.
  2. The best spot for injections is the abdomen (stay at least two fingers away from the belly button). Other locations include the outer thighs, the hips, the buttocks, and the backs of the arms.
  3. Clear the skin of any dirt or other soils.
  4. Spread your fingers one to two-inches apart and place them on the injection site. Pinch them closer together to create a raised portion of skin between them.
  5. Insert the needle into the center of the raised section.
  6. Release your pinch.
  7. Inject the contents of the syringe at a steady pace.
  8. Hold for 5 seconds (if you are using a pen, hold for 10 seconds).
  9. Remove the needle.
  10. Put pressure on the injection site for 5 to 10 seconds.
  11. When using a pen, take the needle off to prevent bubbles from forming.

How to Use an Insulin Pen

  1. Examine your pen to make sure that it is the right type of insulin.
  2. Verify the amount the pen contains.
  3. Check the expiration date.
  4. Hold the pen on its side between your palms.
  5. Roll it back and forth.
  6. Connect a new pen needle.
  7. Take the cap off.
  8. Point the needle upward.
  9. Dial one or two units up before pressing the plunger.
  10. Keep doing this until you see a drop.
  11. Turn the dial to the amount of insulin you need.

When you are looking for insulin syringes for sale, Vitality Medical has a broad range of syringes, pens, needles, and infusion set components.

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