Tools and Devices to Help with Needle Fear

Make Testing and Injecting Insulin Easier

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Do you simply hate testing your sugar or injecting insulin because the thought of using another needle is unbearable? You are not alone. Many people newly diagnosed with diabetes or those who have had diabetes for a long time, do not like needles. In fact, some even have a needle phobia. Needle phobia is defined as an irrational fear of needles, which is exaggerated and cannot usually be explained.

 Some studies suggest that about 10% of the general population has a needle phobia. 

If you are someone with diabetes and experience needle fear, then you should look into tools and devices that can help to ease your fear. Unfortunately, people with diabetes may not be able to avoid needles altogether, but today's technology has simplified things. 

Tools for Helping with Blood Sugar Testing: 

The lancets of today (needles used to test blood sugar) are very thin and short which make testing easier. Settings on lancing devices can also be lowered to reduce how deeply the needle penetrates the skin, which can help to ease the pain. There are a few devices where you don't see the needle at all. For example, the Accu-check® Fastclix lancing device enables you to load a drum with 6 pre-loaded lancets. You do not need to see or handle any lancets. It also has 11 depth settings for different skin types and comfort.

Other tips to help with pain and ease fear: 

1. Select a lancing device that is compatible with the thinnest gauge needles

The thinnest lancet gauge you can find is 33g. The lower the number, the thicker the needle. Some lancing devices that come with 33g needles include: 

Nova Max Nova Sureflex Lancing Device

One Touch Delica (available in 30 and 33g) 

BD Ultra Fine 33g lancets (compatible with most lancing devices). The caveat is that these needles must be used with meters requiring, 1.0uL or less blood. Ask your Certified Diabetes Educator which meter would work for you. 

2. Find a lancing device and meter that allows you to use alternate site testing: 

Alternate site testing (such as the palm and the forearm) may ease your fear of needles because some people believe that alternate site testing is less painful. There are times when alternate site testing is not recommended, such as when you have low blood sugar, after exercise, or if you have hypoglycemia unawareness, etc. The reason for this is that alternate site testing gives you a delayed blood sugar result. Always ask a health care professional first if you can use alternate site testing. 

Lancing devices that come with clear caps typically work in combination with their partner meters.To find out which meters are approved by the FDA for an alternate site testing check with the specific company or package insert.

Most meters today offer alternate site testing. For more information on how to reduce pain when testing your blood sugars.

Tools for Helping with Insulin Injections: 

There are several tools on the market that can help to ease fear during insulin injections. Most tools require a prescription. Ask your health care professional if you have any questions regarding these products. Some of these tools include: 

Inject-Ease®: Inject-Ease works was designed to work with BD syringes. The inject ease device completely hides the syringe and needle. 

AutoShield™ Duo Pen Needle: Made to avoid accidental sticks during administration and disposal of insulin pens, this might an option for you if you do not want to deal with handling needles. The auto shield covers the pen needle with a clear plastic cover so that the needle is never fully exposed. The pen needles are 5mm and 30g and are compatible with most pens on the market. To view a demo of this product click here.

Infulson™ IntraPump Infusion Systems: The patch-like device is inserted into the skin, leaving a soft cannula under the skin. It is held in place by an adhesive with a built-in see-through window to allow visual inspection of the injection site. Insulin injections are made into the plastic tube that lies flat against the skin. The infusion system must be changed every 3 days and the sites should be rotated. You must use a needle to insert the cannula - if this is something you have trouble with then this tool may not be right for you.   

*I do not have any affiliations with any of these companies. This article is for information purposes only. 

Sources: 

Diabetes.co.uk: the global diabetes community. Needle phobia: overcoming the fear of needles. Accessed on-line. August 23, 2014: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/emotions/needle-phobia.html

Accu-check Fastclix® Lancing Device. Accessed on-line. August 23, 2014: https://www.accu-chek.com/us/lancing-devices/fastclix.html

Berg, Erik, Ph.D. Aids for Insulin Users. Diabetes Forecast. Accessed on-line. August 23, 2014: http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2014/Jan/images/aids-for-insulin-users.pdf

BD Diabetes. BD AutoShield Duo Pen Needle. Accessed on-line. August 24, 2014: http://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/hcp/main.aspx?cat=63257&id=63259

AMBIMEDINC. Inject-Ease® Injections Made Easy. Accessed on-line. August 24, 2014: http://www.ambimedinc.com/section_products/injectease.html

Intrapump Insulin Systems. Insuflon. Accessed on-line. August 24, 2014: http://intrapump.com/portfolio/insuflon/

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