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What Are Subcutaneous Injections?

woman giving herself a subcutaneous injection

Injections may sound scary especially when you’re doing it on your own. But learning how to give a subcutaneous injection can be very simple.

So, what is a subcutaneous injection? Subcutaneous means below the skin. This is where a small needle is inserted into fatty tissue just below the skin, delivering a prescribed dose of medicine. These types of injections are used to manage or help a variety of health issues, for example:

  • Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Blood clotting

IV ME NOW offers a number of injectable vitamins and products,  and with those products, a pack of syringes can also be purchased. Some of those are recommended to be administered subcutaneously and others of which are offered with the option of purchasing subcutaneous or intramuscular syringes.

Types Of Subcutaneous Injections

Just like with intramuscular injections, these types of medicines normally come in liquid form. However, your doctor may prescribe a powder medication instead. These powder medicines need to be mixed with a liquid like saline or distilled water before you can use it.

If your medicine comes as a liquid and needs to be stored in a cool place like the refrigerator, it is recommended that you allow the medication to come up to room temperature before you inject it. If the medicine is cold, the injection might feel more unpleasant.

The device used to inject your medicine may not always be an empty syringe. There are different devices your doctor may have you use for different medications. Your subcutaneous injection device can be:

  • Autoinjectors, or pens
  • A syringe already filled with your dose of medicine
  • Or, vials to withdrawal the medicine dose you need with a syringe

Step by step on how to give yourself a subcutaneous injection

  1. Wash your hands with soap and warm water
  2. Make sure you have everything you need:
    1. Alcohol pads
    2. Disposable syringe
    3. Medicine
    4. Cotton balls
    5. Adhesive bandages
    6. A safe place to throw away the syringe
  3. Choose a place to inject the medication. Subcutaneous injections can be administered in several places on the body: (Note: It’s important to avoid giving yourself an injection in the same spot every time. Also try to avoid injecting your medicine in areas that are bruised, tender or scarred.)
    1. Upper arm
    2. Upper thigh
    3. Outer hip
    4. Abdomen
  4. Double check the expiration date on the medicine
  5. Pop off the top of the vial
  6. Wipe the top of the vial with an alcohol pad and allow the alcohol to dry
  7. Prepare the area for injection by wiping it with another alcohol pad and allowing it to dry
  8. Prepare the syringe (which is made up of three different parts)
    1. Plunger
    2. Barrel
    3. Needle
  9. Check the markings on the side of the barrel to measure for the right dose (your doctor/nurse/pharmacist will help you understand how to read the dosage markings you have). They could be labeled in:
    1. Milliliters
    2. Units (normally marked Units for insulin syringes)
  10. When you’re ready, open the package that contains the syringe
  11. Then, open the package that contains the needle and screw it on to the syringe
  12. Draw air into the syringe by pulling the plunger back to the correct dosage
  13. Now, uncap the syringe and set the cap to the side
  14. Inject the needle into the vial
  15. Flip the needle and vial over slowly pushing the plunger all the way in and making sure the needle is below the surface of the medicine (this decreases the chances of developing bubbles in the barrel of the syringe)
  16. Slowly pull the plunger back down, continue drawing the medicine into the barrel until it contains the correct dose (if you notice any large air bubbles, you need to remove them. Push the plunger in again – sending the medicine back into the vial and start over)
  17. To give the injection – point the needle directly towards the skin
  18. Pinch the skin between the thumb and forefinger, on your abdomen for example
  19. With a smooth motion, inject the needle through the skin between the skin and muscle below
  20. Once it’s in, shift your thumb to the plunger and slowly push the plunger all the way in – count to 3 to make sure the syringe is completely empty
  21. Set the needle aside
  22. You may need a cotton ball and an adhesive bandage for any bleeding
  23. Do not try to recap the needle
  24. Insert the used needle into a sharps container (if you don’t have a ready-made sharps container, you can make one with a jar or bottle with a screw-on cap. For example: a used detergent bottle labeled “Danger: Used Needles”)
  25. Keep the container in a safe place
  26. If your medicine is in a single dose vial, discard it
  27. If it’s a multi-dose vial, you can leave it uncapped and put it back in the refrigerator
  28. Everything else gets thrown away normally

Simple and easy!

For more information, here is a step-by-step video with these instructions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXjQHAxopzk

Just remember, these instructions provided are not a substitute for professional medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider. Medications can be obtained from multiple manufacturers, because of the various options it is likely that your medication or device might not look or operate exactly the same.

Looking for more information on subcutaneous injections? Call IV ME NOW!

Although subcutaneous injections can seem frightening, they are not difficult to administer. As long as you follow these steps, you shouldn’t have a hard time with your subcutaneous injections.

Talk to IV ME NOW for more information, request an appointment online!

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