Hemophilia and self-infusion

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Teens living with hemophilia can learn tips on how to give self-infusions.

As you become more comfortable with the skills needed to inject your factor, you can start to practice giving yourself infusions. You may already be comfortable with self-infusion. If you aren’t giving yourself factor yet, you can ask a parent or your clinic nurse to help you to learn how. By making the commitment to self-infusion at home you can empower yourself to live more freely, with less of the burdens that can come with managing hemophilia.

As you get used to doing your own infusions at home (self-infusions), you will gain more confidence over your own care. Get involved in your own hemophilia care early on. This can start off with simple tasks, such as:

  • getting the product from where it is stored, for example, out of the fridge
  • mixing your product
  • learning the proper names for supplies and products

Inject factor into your veins

When we think about people taking needles, such as people with diabetes, most people think about injecting under the skin. However, to treat hemophilia you need to inject the treatment into the vein. These are called intravenous injections. Because you need to find the vein consistently, giving a successful dose of factor takes skill and practice.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when taking injections.

  • Before infusing, displace the air in the tube to the point where you only see one drop of factor.
  • Larger needles let you push factor in more quickly, but remember to inject less than 3 mL of product every minute.
  • Make sure the sloping edge of the needle (bevel) is always facing up.
  • Injections can only be given into well-developed veins. Some people may have a hard time finding veins. In this case, you need to use a special device called a port-a-cath.

Select the right needle size

The gauge number describes the outer diameter of the needle. Larger needles have smaller gauge numbers; smaller needles have larger gauge numbers. When choosing a needle, the gauge size of a needle depends on the size of your veins. Often, blood labs use larger needles with small gauge numbers to draw blood from your veins. But these needles can put pressure on your veins. To protect your veins, don’t be afraid to ask them to use a smaller needle.

Always protect your veins

During your routine follow-up visits you may have blood work taken by someone who is not your hemophilia nurse. When the same vein is punctured many times, you develop scars that look like tiny bruises. Tell the nurse which veins you want them to use and which ones you want to avoid. This way, you can be in charge of protecting your veins.

Last updated: March 13th 2019