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Why it’s important to change your needles

How often do you change your needles? We asked the Diabetic South Africans community that recently, and we were surprised by the answers. Most people only change their needles when they can feel they’re blunt, or when they change pens. But needles are actually supposed to be changed with every injection! We asked BD why.

Why is it important to change needles at all?

There is increasing evidence that reusing a needle can cause micro-trauma and lead to lipohypertrophy (bumps and lumps under the skin) at injection sites.

Changing your needle offers benefits such as:

  • Less painful injections
  • Less damage to the skin at the injection site
  • Reduced contamination of the needle

Take a look at this research article on the risk of repeated use of insulin pen needles.

What happens to needles if they’re old?

Needles become blunt as soon as they are used. Look at this frightening close-up of a needle that has been used – see how blunt it is!

what happens if you don't change your needles

How many times should you use a needle?

Needles are for single use only, so a needle should only be used once.

Does injection technique matter?

Because pen and insulin syringe needles are designed with the thickness of the skin in mind, it’s not a good idea to inject through clothing. It can also lead to bruising, blood-stained clothing and contamination of the needle because clothes aren’t sterile. So it’s not a good idea!

change your needles

More information about good injection technique

This is part of a series on injection technique offered by BD.

This article was brought to you with unconditional scientific support by BD.

Disclaimer: The medical information on this website is not advice and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any questions about your medication, please consult your doctor.

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.