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April 10, 2003

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Australia:

I have just been diagnosed with diabetes, and I need to practise giving injections. Is it okay to inject plain water, or is it better to use saline?


It is better to use “normal” or physiologic saline for injection rather than water since it is the closest thing to real body fluid. What puzzles me is — why would you want to continue to practice on yourself? If I practice with a patient, he/she may give one or two shots of saline in front of me and then should be able to go home and do it alone (or with the help of a family member at first) using real insulin. If the issue is mixing the insulin correctly, you can practice that at home and inject it into an orange. If the issue is fear and hesitation injecting, there are some devices such as the Inject-Ease� that push the needle in for you. What about insulin pens? Most people find them less intimidating and the pen needles are tiny.