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From Georgia, USA:

I have an 8 year old daughter that was diagnosed with Type 1 about 6 months ago. She is on 3 shots per day. For the most part she does really well. But sometimes, the shots hurt worse than other times. We are using the smallest needle available. Is there something that can be applied to the skin to numb the area before taking the shot? Any other suggestions?


There are a number of reasons shots may be painful:

  1. The insulin is too cold. Don't give insulin straight out of the refrigerator. Room temperature is best. Once you open an insulin vial, you can keep it a room temperature for four to six weeks without any problems. Don't let it get hot, leave it in the car, or out on a sunny window ledge. Regardless of how much insulin is left in the vial, don't use it past six weeks as it will lose its potency.
  2. You hit a nerve. It's hard to get around this, but stay away from areas that have hurt in the past. Make sure you do rotate sites to avoid poor absorption from overused sites.
  3. Some injection sites hurt less, like the thigh or buttocks.
  4. You could get "EMLA" lidocaine cream to numb the site, but it gets expensive and takes about 30 minutes to take effect.
  5. Use a new syringe every time. There are some new ultrafine needles and short needles on the market.


Original posting 5 Jul 1999
Posted to Blood Tests and Insulin Injections


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