Storytime: Naomi’s Site Management Tips
As insulin infusion devices and diabetes technology continue to progress, with these new advancements naturally come some new challenges. Improper infusion set routines can become a barrier to accurate insulin administration and management of diabetes. Poor habits such as reusing needles or neglecting to rotate your sites can result in needle blockage, insulin crystallisation, hardening of the tissues around the site, and insulin leakage.1 Naomi lives with type 1 diabetes and has learnt the hard way to take care of her infusion sites. Here she shares her top tips.
A Sticky Situation
I looked down the other day and saw that the edge of my infusion set site was no longer sticky and beginning to peel. To be cautious, I put a piece of tape over my site and was back to business. At times, I am often overly cautious because of the whole saying “I’d rather be safe than sorry,” and because I have also learned what can happen when I don’t take that extra special care.
My Personal Reminders
I am reminded that with diabetes and an insulin pump, you must always be paying attention. These are some of the habits I’ve formed over the years:
- A general bag check to make sure that my meter is there
- A double (or triple) check to make sure I have the snacks in my drawer I may need for later
- An extra glance at my infusion set site to check whether I need to cover it up with extra tape. Note to self: since I’ve used that piece of tape, put another piece in my bag so I have an extra one the next time this happens.
Found those to be handy tips? Here are a few more to help you care for your infusion site.
My Top 5 Tips For Site Management
1. Rotate your site every time you change your infusion set.
2. Choose a site away from an area of your body that often bends, twists, or has clothing rubbing against it, such as your beltline.
3. Practise good hygiene whenever changing your site. This means washing your hands and cleaning the skin around your new site with an alcohol wipe.
4. To help the tape stick well, ensure you’ve scrubbed away any dead skin cells. Avoid using any ointment or lotions on the skin and apply addition adhesive underneath or around the site for extra protection.
5. Smooth that tape over properly! Curled edges of the tape or wrinkles can catch on your clothing and cause irritating tugging of your whole set.
Like teaching yourself any new habit, it can take some time to get into a proper routine of caring for your infusion site well. If you find you’re having difficulty establishing a care routine and your blood glucose management is suffering, talk to your diabetes healthcare team for some extra tips.
- Debb A, Abdelrahman L, Tomy M, Suliman S, Akle M, Smith M, Strauss K. Impact of Insulin Injection and Infusion Routines on Lipohypertrophy and Glycaemic Control in Children and Adults with Diabetes. Diabetes Ther. 2019; 10:259-267.
This patient testimonial relates to an account of an individual’s response to treatment. The account is genuine, typical and documented. The views and opinions expressed are those of the patient or author and not representative of Medtronic or of any third parties referenced. The response other persons have to treatment could be different. Please speak with your diabetes healthcare team for information on whether the treatment is appropriate for you. The information provided in this blog is an individual account specific to the writer’s experience in the management of their own diabetes. Before considering any changes to your diabetes management you must speak with your diabetes healthcare team.
*Editor’s note: This article has been adapted and reproduced from a post published on Medtronic Diabetes US.