Doing an injection

Nadeem's body doesn't make insulin anymore – just like yours – so he has to give it to himself instead. He uses a pen injector to do this. Here's how injections work.


Most people will use a pen injector when they are first told they need to give themselves insulin. A pen injector looks like this.

Your nurse will show you how and when to inject insulin. Your mum and dad or someone else might give you your injection, or you might do it yourself.

There are lots of places on our body where we can inject insulin:

  • tummy
  • thighs
  • bottom
  • arms (only if your nurse says it's OK and there is someone to help you).

It's important not to inject in the same part of your body each time. Using a different place helps the injection to work better. 

Why can't I swallow insulin like a medicine instead of having to have an injection?

Because if you swallow insulin it gets all broken up in your stomach, and can't get into you blood where it can do it's job peoperly.

How can I make my injections hurt less?

  • Injections can be scary, and this might make you want to do it slowly. But it will hurt less if you do it quickly.
  • Try to relax and think about something else while you are having your injection. Perhaps put your favourite TV programme on or look at a special book.
  • Some children find it helps to hold a piece of ice against their skin where they're just about to be injected. The ice makes the skin go very cold and numb so you can't feel the injection so much.
  • Ask your mum or dad to see if your nurse has any tips to help make injections hurt less.

I'm scared of doing my injection. Will I have to do it myself?

It's OK for someone else to do your injection. Your nurse will show your mum and dad how to do it and nobody should force you to do it yourself until you're ready. There's no set age when you should be doing your own injection – it's up to you and your mum and dad to decide when the time is right.

My injection gives me bruises. How can I stop it?

Bruises won't do you any harm and they don't mean that your insulin won't work properly. Ask your mum and dad to check with your doctor or nurse that you are injecting in the right place and with the right size of needle.


  • You need to take a medicine called insulin every day to stay well.
  • You might use a pen injector to give yourself insulin, or you might use a pump


Find out more about insulin and how your body uses it.

All about insulin

Your comments

"Hi, I am 6 years old and was told I had Type 1 diabetes last week. I am sometimes scared when it comes to the time when I have to have my injection as I don't like it when the insulin goes in, but most of the time I am OK. I don't know anyone my age with diabetes but it would be good to know I am not the only one." – Shona

"i am really scared about taking my insulin. I'm ok injecting into my arms but I worry I'll get it wrong" – Faye

"Hi, it's Amy :) I have had diabetes for 12 years now and I am 13. I used to have two injections a day but now I have four to six a day! It's agony! My mum used to do them for me up untill I was about 10. I don't really know anyone else with diabetes but I would love to!" – Amy

"I've just been diagnosed with Type 1 and get really scared about injecting myself. I'm 13 and have done it four times. I know you might say, 'oh she's done it four times, why is she scared?' but I am and I know alot of other children are. I really want a pen pal to talk to about it – it would be great." – Sophie

"Hi, my name is Amy. I have had my diabetes for three years now. I am almost 13 and I do my injections myself. It was pretty hard to start with but I managed to fit it in with my daily life. Not many people I know have diabetes and it is getting more common. The advice I have is to watch out for lumps in your tummy or where ever you inject, I did it in the same place for a while and it got lumpy and finally got infected and I kept going low. Thank you and I hope this was helpful!! :) – Amy  


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