Tips and troubleshooting
Here are a few common problems people experience:
Check your insulin is at room temperature. Cold insulin makes injections more painful, and the insulin takes longer to absorb.
If you are particularly sensitive to needles, try numbing the area with an ice cube for 15-20 seconds before you inject. If you have a longer needle, ask your GP/diabetes nurse if you can switch to a shorter one.
If you are still experiencing pain, consider an insulin injection aid, such as the TickleFLEX.
Redness, swelling or itching
It is normal for your skin to react to insulin, especially if this is the first time you are using it. If the area does not improve after several weeks or gets worse, contact your GP.
If you continue to experience skin irritation, you can discuss switching to a different insulin.
Remember to never reuse needles due to the risk of infection.
Bleeding and/or bruising
Some bleeding or bruising after injecting is to be expected from time to time. Apply gentle pressure for 5-10 seconds after injecting and avoid squeezing the skin too hard if you are using a pinch technique.
If you are bleeding regularly, speak to your GP to review your needle length to make sure you are not accidentally injecting into muscle. People using a longer needle can also try switching to a 45-degree angle when injecting.
Lumps and bumps
Sometimes lumps of fatty tissue gather under the skin due to injecting into the same place too often. The most common lumps are called lipohypertrophy (lipos). You can also develop a condition called cutaneous amyloidosis.
Lumps beneath the skin can interfere with insulin absorption and affect your blood glucose levels. It is important to alternate between the left and right side of your body each week and to make sure each new injection is at least one finger’s breadth away from the last site.