7 Tips for Using Non-Insulin Injectables in Public

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN on October 16, 2022
  • senior woman enjoying dinner outside with friends
    Treating Diabetes in Public
    If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe certain non-insulin injectable medications to help keep your blood glucose (blood sugar) under control. And while these medications are necessary for your health, you may worry about giving yourself shots in public, especially if it’s not something you do often. Fortunately, by following several tips for using non-insulin injectables in public, you can stay healthy and as discrete as you wish.
  • carrying case full of diabetes treatment supplies
    1. Have all your supplies handy.
    Before using a pen or needle and syringe to administer your diabetes medication, it’s important to be sure you have all your supplies nearby. It can be helpful to carry all your medication supplies, such as needles, bandages, or alcohol wipes, in a travel pouch or carrying case that’s dedicated to your diabetes treatment. With all your supplies in one location, you’ll never be without the items you need to safely inject yourself, no matter where you are.
  • empty park bench on a sunny day
    2. Make sure you have plenty of light and space.
    Giving yourself an injection requires enough light to see clearly and enough space to handle the needle and syringe safely. Try to avoid giving yourself an injection in a small space, like a car or the bathroom on an airplane. Having plenty of space around you lowers your likelihood of being accidently bumped or pushed by another person as you perform the injection, which helps keep you and others safe.
  • empty office room with chairs and sunlit window
    3. Look for a private room or area.
    Many restaurants, workplaces, schools, and other public spaces feature private rooms or areas set aside for people with unique medical needs, like diabetes. Ask if your location has such an area where you can go to safely inject your diabetes medication in private. Greater privacy gives you a chance to administer your medication in comfort without having to worry other people becoming uneasy if they witness you give yourself an injection.
  • Restaurant meal is served
    4. Avoid injecting near food or other contaminants.
    Items like food and beverages or locations like the restroom can be a prime source of contaminants and germs that increase your risk for complications after injection, such as an infection. It’s important to keep your non-insulin injectables for diabetes secure and away from any types of substances that could cause contamination. This is true regardless of whether your medication is contained in a vial or comes in a pre-loaded pen.
  • closeup of sharps container in bathroom
    5. Dispose of needles appropriately.
    Leaving loose needles in public trash cans or flushing them down the toilet exposes others to potential harm. Properly disposing the needles you use lowers the risk of transmitting certain diseases, like hepatitis. Needles should be disposed of in hard plastic sharps containers, which are usually available at your local pharmacy. Because many people now use injectable medications, many public facilities now have sharps containers located in bathrooms or other areas.
  • Friends at lunch
    6. Be prepared to educate others.
    Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma associated with injecting your diabetes medications in public. Pulling out your injection supplies may earn you some funny looks from strangers, but you can tackle this issue head-on with a simple explanation that you have diabetes. You may choose to explain more by telling strangers that your medications help keep you healthy. But keep in mind, regardless of what other people think, your health and safety must come first.
  • Endocrinologist showing patient diabetic equipment
    7. Ask your doctor about alternatives.
    If taking non-insulin injectable medications makes you uncomfortable, you may try asking your doctor about any alternatives to these types of drugs. Your doctor may be able to recommend certain oral medications that provide the same results of non-insulin injectables and help keep you healthy. Or, you might benefit from using a non-insulin injectable that’s only administered once a week, rather than daily. Discussing your concerns about injecting in public with your doctor may be the first step in finding an effective therapy that helps you live more comfortably.
Treating Diabetes in Public | Non-Insulin Injecatbles for Diabetes

About The Author

Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN began writing professionally in 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and worked as a registered nurse in multiple specialties, including pharmaceuticals, operating room/surgery, endocrinology, and family practice. With over nine years of clinical practice experience, Sarah has worked with clients including Healthgrades, Mayo Clinic, Aha Media Group, Wolters Kluwer, and UVA Cancer Center.
  1. Instructions for Medicines You Inject. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/11727-instructions-for-medicines-you-inject-
  2. Safely Using Sharps (Needles and Syringes) at Home, at Work and on Travel. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/Sharps/default.htm
  3. Handling sharps and needles. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000444.htm

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Last Review Date: 2022 Oct 16
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.