How to Measure Insulin Syringes


People who use insulin to help control blood sugar levels should know exactly how to measure a syringe. Insulin syringes come in a variety of sizes, and it's important to know how to deliver the correct dose by knowing what capacity your syringe holds.

Things You'll Need

  • Insulin
  • Syringe
  • Alcohol swab
  • Look at the box of syringes you received from the pharmacy to determine exactly what kind of capacity each syringe holds. Syringe manufacturers typically make their products in three main barrel sizes, 3/10 ml, which holds 30 units or less; 1/2 ml, which is meant for people taking 31 to 50 units of insulin; or 1 ml, which is intended for people with a dosage of 51 to 100 units. Verify which barrel size you have.

  • Tear open the package containing your alcohol swab. Rub the swab gently on top of the insulin vial. Draw up your insulin by inserting the needle into the top of the vial, then invert the vial so the syringe is beneath it. Pull the plunger down and you will see the insulin between the top of the syringe and the top of the stopper.

  • Although syringes come in a variety of capacities, the same general concept applies when measuring a dosage. Notice the black lines on the syringe; some have increments of five and others are marked every 10 units. Each line represents one unit of insulin. Measure your dose by counting the lines, or if you are supposed to get 23 units, find the 20 mark, then go past it three more units.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only give yourself insulin injections if prescribed to do so by a licensed physician. If you get air bubbles in your syringe, gently tap the barrel with either your finger tip or a pen, sending the bubbles to the top of the syringe. Push the plunger up to get ride of the air bubbles, then continue to draw up the insulin until you reach the desired dose.

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