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What size insulin syringe should I buy?

Insulin syringes come in several sizes. When buying syringes, keep these things in mind:
  • Needle gauge: The gauge of the needle means its width, or thickness. Insulin syringes range from 28 gauge to 31 gauge, and the larger the number the smaller the gauge. (An Ultra-Fine II brand needle is the smallest, and the Ultra-Fine is the next size up.) Smaller, thinner children may do well with the smaller gauge needle. Some older and larger children may prefer the larger needle.
  • Needle length. Common needle lengths are 12.7 mm (1/2") and 8 mm (5/16"). The 8-mm needle is called "short" and is the length that most people prefer.
  • Barrel size: The barrel size determines how much insulin the syringe can hold. Buy a barrel size that best matches your standard insulin dosage. For example, a 3/10-cc syringe is best for 30 units or less, 1/2-cc syringe is best for 30 to 50 units, and a 1-cc syringe is best for injections of 50 to 100 units. To make sure you have the size you need, always check the box before you leave the pharmacy. When you draw up insulin, look closely at the markings on the barrel, especially whenever you change syringe sizes. The markings will be different, and you need to make sure you're drawing up the right dose.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.