Insulin is normally made by the pancreas, a gland behind the stomach. In children with diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes enough insulin or it stops making it. Without insulin, your child's blood sugar level rises to dangerous levels. When this happens, your child needs insulin shots to keep blood sugar at a safe level.
You may be nervous giving your child a shot at first. But soon, giving the shot will become routine. It is quite easy to learn how to draw up insulin into a syringe and give the shot. The needles you use to give the insulin injections are very thin, and most children who have diabetes say that they do not even feel the needle enter the skin. Even if your child does feel the injection, the sting of the shot is not bad and does not last long. Many parents give their children shots. You can too.
If your child doesn't want to feel the insulin needle, your child's doctor can prescribe an indwelling subcutaneous cannula. A small needle is used to insert a soft tube into a place where you give your child an insulin shot, such as the belly. The needle is taken out, but the soft tube (cannula) stays in your child's body and is held in place with tape. Then, when your child needs insulin, the insulin needle is put into the cannula instead of into the skin. This way, your child won't have to feel the insulin needle. The cannula can be used for at least 3 days before your child will need a new one.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Preparing the shot
For a single type of insulin shot:
Before giving your child the shot:
You can inject insulin into:
Your doctor may advise you to give the shots in different places on your child's body each day. This is called site rotation. Make sure you talk to the doctor about how to do this safely. If you rotate sites, use the same site at the same time of each day. For example, each day:
Slightly change the spot where you give an insulin shot each time you do it. For example, use five different places on the right upper arm, then use five places on the left upper arm. Using the same spot every time can cause bumps or pits in the skin and make the shots hurt more. It may also slow down how the insulin is absorbed into your child's body.
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Current as of: March 13, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator & David C. W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
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