Myth #7- I Don’t Like Insulin Shots Because They Are Painful
IntroductionThat’s not true at all – that insulin shots are painful. Have you seen the new syringe needles lately? They are short just 5/16 inch and very thin (gauge 31). They are so thin you can hardly see or feel it. What a far-cry from the steel needle so thick which we used and also had to boil so many moons ago. Nowadays most people say that insulin shots is a walk in the park, so painless that is. .
Don’t compare the syringe needle to the ones used when you get flu shot and all the rest. Why? Because those needles are thicker and bigger. They are injected into the muscle or vein where sometimes you feel some pain. The difference is that syringe needles go into the fatty tissue which is underneath the skin where you won’t feel any pain unless you make the mistake of injecting it into a muscle by accident.
Yes, for I will not lie to you. You might feel a sting when you hit a muscle or a built-up scar from all the shots in the past. You will also feel some pain if you hit a nerve or if you are using the same needle again and again because needles do get dull with each reuse. The same thing can happen if you tense up like I do or if you’re injecting cold insulin. But don’t worry for in the next section, I will show you how to lessen the pain. .
How To Lessen The Pain of Injections..
Here are some ways to lessen the pain of injection:
Change the site of the injection. Less scar will develop if you do not inject in the same site two times in a row. .
Wait till your insulin is at room temperature before you start injecting. .
Use a new syringe each time not only to lessen the pain but also to avoid developing an infection. .
Here’s a video on Administering a Nearly Painless Insulin Injection
Options To Use Instead of Syringes..
If you are scared to use the syringes because you associate it to pain, I hear you. You know what people use instead of the needle? They opt to use a pen. I see you’re surprised. No, it is not the kind of pen you are thinking of, you silly. My fault, I should have used the words, insulin pen because that is what it is used for. The insulin pen has an insulin cartridge and a needle which is just the same size as today’s needle: super thin and short. .
The insulin pen looks like an ordinary pen except it is a little larger and thicker. Because it does not resemble the syringe of old, you will not be psychologically fearful of it. And it is so easy to use you can shoot up anywhere even at the table when dining. The best thing about it? You will hear a click signaling that you have just received the exact dose you need. Cool, huh? .
Insulin Pens come in two forms: reusable or disposable pens. The reusable comes with a cartridge packed with insulin while the disposable form is pre-filled with insulin. It is easy to use by simply dialing up the dose on the pen and pressing a plunger from one end to inject the insulin via a needle at the other end. .
Insulin pump is another way of insulin delivery. Some say it is an easier way to achieve blood glucose control and avoid complications. When on the pump, the patient can receive uninterrupted insulin infusion. They can also eat when they want and go anywhere without worrying about injections. Studies have shown that people on insulin pump have reduced their A1C level. .
The insulin pump is just as small as a pager that you can put in your pocket. It releases insulin 24 hours a day to the body via a needle attached to a plastic tube. Then if you need an additional boost when you have to eat, you just press a pump button to get it which is called a bolus. It is just like the way nature intended it. You get small amount continuously and a boost when you eat. So it is really that easy to use. .
Jet injectors do not have needles but instead have extra pressure to spray insulin through the skin pores. Now this should be something to consider of you are scared of needles. But you know what? I heard they may cause more pain than the needle because of the concentrated nerves on your skin surface. Pushing the insulin spray through the pores may cause this pain .
Besides, the dosage for the jet injectors way of insulin delivery may not be accurate. How can it not be? It really sounds like it is a hit-and-miss affair. You may be better off with an insulin patch. Work with your doctor to choose the best way for you which is also within your budget. This way, you will be more inclined to follow through with your regimen. .
There is a new insulin delivery system in the block and it is inhaled insulin. This is used before meals and is approved by the FDA. As for the timing, the rapid-acting inhaled insulin attains its peak in the blood in about 20 minutes and to pass through the body in two to three hours. How is it used? .
Whoever is using it places an insulin dose into a small inhaler. Doses come in powder form in a cartridge with each cartridge containing a single dose. Above all, there is no needle to contend with. But type 1 diabetics should use this in combination with a long-acting insulin. And don’t use inhaled insulin if you have disease of the lung or if you smoke. And please consult with your doctor before making any change.
Now I hope that you have changed your mind about insulin shots being painful. I have given you the reasons why. Besides, suggestions to lessen the pain when a mistake is made are given above, but if you have developed that psychological fear of the needle then there are insulin delivery options mentioned in this article. So there is no reason why you can’t have insulin if you need to have it. But how about you? What are your experiences regarding this issue? Write to me in the comments below so I will be encouraged to send you more information.
By Roger Guzman, M.D. and Evelyn Guzman
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