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Intramuscular injection Education

Steps for An Injection

1. Wash your hands

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water to prevent potential infection. Be sure to thoroughly scrub between fingers, on the backs of hands, and under fingernails.

2. Assemble the following supplies:

  • Needle and syringe with medication

  • Alcohol pads

  • Puncture-resistant container to discard the used needles and syringe

  • Bandages (if needed)

3. Locate the injection site

  • To isolate the muscle and target where you’ll place the injection, spread the skin at the injection site between two fingers. The person receiving the injection should get into a position that’s comfortable, provides easy access to the location, and keeps the muscle relaxed.

4. Clean injection site

  • Clean the site selected for injection with an alcohol swab and allow the skin to air dry.

5. Self-injection with a syringe

  • Insert the needle. Hold the needle like a dart and insert it into the muscle at a 90-degree angle. You should insert the needle in a quick, but controlled manner. 

6. Inject the medication

  • Push the plunger slowly to inject the medication into the muscle.

7. Remove the needle

  • Withdraw the needle quickly and discard it into a puncture-resistant sharps container. Don’t recap the needle.

*A sharps container is a red container that you can purchase at any pharmacy, or use a coffee can or leak-proof, plastic container to store the sharps safely and dispose of them in the trash.

8. Apply pressure to the injection site

  • Use a piece of gauze to apply light pressure to the injection site. You can even massage the area to help the medicine be absorbed into the muscle. It’s normal to see slight bleeding. Use a bandage if necessary.

Tips for an easier injection

To minimize possible discomfort before your injection:

  • Apply ice or an over-the-counter topical numbing cream to the injection site before cleaning it with the alcohol pad.

  • Warm the vial of medication by rubbing it between your hands prior to drawing the medication into the syringe.

  • Have someone you trust give you the injection. Some people find it difficult to inject themselves. 

*REMEMBER to rotate the injection sites. This means that you shouldn’t inject medicine into the same spot twice in a row. Using the same injection site over and over again can cause discomfort and even tissue damage.

What are the complications of intramuscular injections?

It’s normal to experience some discomfort after an intramuscular injection. But certain symptoms may be a sign of a more serious complication.

Call your doctor or healthcare provider right away if you experience:

  • Severe pain at the injection site.

  • Tingling or numbness, redness, swelling, or warmth at the injection site.

  • Prolonged bleeding, more than 5-8 minutes.

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing or facial swelling.

Preferred Sites for Injections

Deltoid muscle of the arm

  • To locate this site, feel for the bone that’s located at the top of the upper arm. The correct area to give the injection is two finger widths below the palpated bone. At the bottom of the two fingers, will be an upside-down triangle. Give the injection in the center of the triangle.

Vastus lateralis muscle of the thigh

  • Divide the upper thigh into three equal parts. Locate the middle of these three sections. The injection should go into the outer top portion of this section.

Dorsogluteal muscles of the buttocks

  • The dorsogluteal muscle of the buttocks was the site most commonly selected by healthcare providers for many years. This site is difficult to use this site for self-injection and should be used with caution. 

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