Can you believe it’s already the middle of July?! This summer is just flying by, which means you better start checking things off your summer bucket list that we talked about last week. Did you end up going to that drive-in movie?! Me neither. Being active and doing everything you want to can be hard when you need to inject medicine every so often. You can’t live without it, so you need to bring syringes with you. But, how do you keep them safe?
Prefilled Syringes & Activities
If you’re diabetic, then you know that you don’t leave the house without insulin or backup supplies in case you have a high or low or see a yummy crepe station on the street and you must try one. If you can say no to a Nutella and strawberry crepe, send me some of your will power please! I’m sure you have a nice bag or wallet that you store your supplies in to keep them organized. And if you don’t, you should go buy one ASAP…. it’ll make your life much easier! But, say you’re just playing yard games with your family and friends outside. You’re not going to need to carry your entire bag with you all the time (if you want to, then totally go for it). Personally, I hate carrying around extra weight when I don’t have to.
The easiest option is to obviously leave your prefilled syringe inside (this is of course if you’re doing multiple daily injections). Then, when you feel you need to inject your insulin step away from the game to do so. When it’s inside, make sure the needle is pointing upwards to prevent insulin blocking the needle opening.
Keeping It Close
But, if you’re the type of person that enjoys the comfort of knowing your syringe is nearby and you can grab it in less than five seconds if needed, then you’ll need to find a way to keep it on you. The syringe needs to be kept clean with nothing ever touching the needle to ensure no extra bacteria is transferred during the injection process.
You clearly can’t just set it on the ground while you’re playing croquet or corn hole. You need to keep it in something like a bag or wallet. Likewise, you can also purchase travel cases for your syringes which are little containers that fit one prefilled syringe. Now, you’ll never have to miss your turn again (so now you can’t blame losing on the person that had to step in for you).
Can You Reuse Your Syringe?
We all know just how expensive insulin is, but then there is also the added cost of test strips, lancets, lancing devices, syringes, supply bags, glucose tablets, and more. In order to save a little money every now and then you CAN reuse your syringes. However, there are important rules that need to be followed.
• Keep the needle clean by always having it capped when you’re not using it
• Make sure that the needle never touches anything other than your clean skin and the top of the insulin bottle
• Never share syringes with anyone else
• Cleaning it with alcohol removes the coating that helps the needle slide into the skin easily.
How and Where To Dispose Of Syringes
Since you can reuse your syringes, you won’t have to dispose of them after each use. However, once the needle becomes dull, bent, or touches something else (like grass from when you were playing croquet) that means it is time to toss it. When it’s time to dispose, you should buy a device that clips, catches, and contains the needle. If you just use scissors to cut the needle off, it will go flying and you may lose it.
If you don’t like this method, then use an opaque heavy-duty plastic bottle with a screw cap. You’ll place all your used and damaged syringes inside, then once it’s full you’ll dispose of the container. Your area or city may have certain rules for how to dispose medical waste. Ask your city what the rules are and also read more information from the CDC about needle disposal.
What happens when you’re traveling? Do you throw your needles away there? The best answer is no. Bring them home with you so that you know they are getting disposed of correctly or bring your travel syringe cases with you and just put the used in there to bring home. Otherwise you can use a hard-plastic pencil box to transport them back home with you.
Live Your Life
Having the correct supplies and methods to storing syringes and any diabetic supplies is essential to managing the disease with ease. Except we all know diabetes is rarely ever easy, it’s a constant battle that can be incredibly frustrating. It’s important to still live your life and not let the disease control you.
You know where to find me for questions, comments, suggestions— reach out via comments, social media, or email. I’d love to hear from you!
Insulin Storage and Syringe Safety. (2014, April 7). Retrieved July 12, 2019, [Find Out More Here]