Living with your daily insulin injection 

Diabetes won’t stop you from having an active and sociable lifestyle. Here are some things you need to consider when self-injecting. 

Travelling with your insulin device

Discuss your travel plans with your diabetes healthcare professional – you want to be sure to have enough pen supplies (plus spares) and a travel letter for security or customs that you will need.

Also, pre-plan how you will access more pen supplies in case yours are lost or stolen, and try to find out if you will be able to get the same brand of pens and needles in the country/countries you are travelling to. 

Find more information on travelling with diabetes 

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If you are unwell

You may not feel like checking your glucose levels or injecting your diabetes medication when you are sick. However, it is really important that you keep on doing this to keep your diabetes under control, because:


Your blood glucose levels can rise when you’re ill so keep checking and adjusting your insulin dose if necessary


If you are nauseous or vomiting, you may not be taking in enough carbohydrate (sugar). When you do not eat and have taken your insulin, you are at risk of a low blood sugar – try sipping sugary drinks or eating a little ‘easy’ food such as soup or ice cream, or suck glucose tablets 

If you are playing sports

Generally, it is a good idea to take your insulin pen, a mobile phone and a sugary snack with you when exercising so that you are prepared in case of emergencies. Make sure you are wearing a medical alert that tells others you are on insulin.

Also, make sure you are not exposing the insulin in your pen to extreme temperatures (>25°C, <4°C), by for instance leaving it in the sun, or next to a frosty playing field.

Before starting any exercise programme however, speak to your diabetes health care professional and ask for their advice. They will probably give you a general check-up and tell you how to adjust your food and medication including insulin, to balance your glucose control accordingly. 

To find out more about managing diabetes with exercise, read our section on getting active

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If you are pregnant

It is perfectly alright to continue to inject into your tummy as long as you can still pinch the skin or you are using a very short needle. If you are concerned, use other fatty areas such as your thighs, upper arms (only if advised) or buttocks. 

For more information on diabetes during pregnancy, read our section on gestational diabetes

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HQ19DN00010. March 2019.