FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the difference between a syringe and a needle?
While many people assume that syringes and needles are one and the same, the truth is there are a few key differences between these two pieces of medical gear. A syringe is a piece of medical equipment that’s typically made of three parts – a barrel, a plunger, and a needle. A syringe can be used with a needle to deliver injectable medication into a vein or muscle, or it can be used without the needle – for example, in an oral application.
What is the standard insulin needle size?
With so many people around the world living with diabetes, it’s important to understand as much as possible about the needles and syringes that deliver much-needed insulin. As a person grows and their insulin dosage changes, so do the standard insulin needle sizes that they will use.
When using an insulin needle, the size an individual uses depends on their dosage and their personal preferences. Many people will use several different sizes of insulin needles in a single day.
Additionally, some people prefer thinner gauge needles because they inject more comfortably. When it comes to length, doctors generally agree that shorter needles of around 4mm are preferable, to avoid any danger of hitting muscle.
How do I clean a syringe?
Most doctors do not recommend reusing syringes and needles for insulin delivery. You should always talk to your doctor if you feel the need to reuse any of your diabetic supplies. If you are reusing syringes, make sure to always place the cover back on your needle after use, and avoid cleaning the needle tip with alcohol. This can remove the protective silicone covering on the needle, causing it to become dull faster, which can lead to needle pricks that pinch or bruise.
If you are determined to reuse your syringe and want to clean it, the CDC recommends a three-step cleaning process where the user rinses the syringe in water, followed by pure bleach, followed by another rinse of clean water. Please consult your physician before reusing a syringe or needle.
How do I unclog a syringe?
Unfortunately, there is no completely safe way to unclog a syringe. If you find that your syringe is clogged, the best approach is to simply dispose of it safely, then use another needle. A good way to avoid clogs in the first place is to store all your needles and syringes with the covered needle tip pointing up, so that the insulin doesn't block the needle opening for long periods of time. Make sure you always have a robust supply of needle caps, along with other important syringe accessories.
How do I dispose of syringes and needles safely?
The easiest and safest way to dispose of syringes and needles is a two-step process. First, purchase a needle and sharps disposal container, and make sure that you put your syringes and needles in there when you’re finished with them. They can remain in the sharps container safely for weeks or even months. After it's full, dispose of the entire container according to your county or city’s guidelines. Needles and syringes should never be thrown out, recycled, or left lying around.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.