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August 1, 2001

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada:

My three year old daughter is on three injection needles a day, and we have a very difficult time when we give her a shot in her backside. Someone suggested that putting oral gel on the skin area 10 minutes before administering the needle would help since it numbs the skin. Isn't oral gel only used for inside the mouth? Would this be recommended to use in a situation like this?

Answer:

I’m skeptical that the gel would have any effect through normal skin — special creams are available for this, but are too expensive to justify use in diabetes. There are two issues here:

The pain of an insulin injection is negligible on most occasions — especially if the needle is changed at least once a day.
Where discomfort is an issue we have had success with giving the skin a vigorous rub immediately prior to injection or brief application of an ice-cube.

KJR

[Editor’s comment: If your daughter’s backside is the only problem, why not try to avoid using it? She may associate shots in the backside with the “big” needles she gets at her doctor’s office, and may think you’re using one of these since she can’t see it.

SS]