Subcutaneous Injections

How To Give a Subcutaneous Injection (from preloaded syringes)

A subcutaneous injection delivers medication into the fatty tissue just below your skin. Since there is little blood flow in fatty tissue, the medication is absorbed more slowly.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly to prevent infection.
  2. Assemble and check your equipment.
  3. Look at the medication and make sure it is not cloudy and that there is no sediment. If you see either, throw it away and use a new syringe.
    • To remove any air bubbles that may have collected during storage, hold the syringe with the needle facing up. Tap the syringe with your finger. (This will make the air bubbles rise to the top, near the needle.)
    • Push the plunger just enough to push out all the air that has collected. When the air is out, you will see a drop of the medication at the end of the needle. Set the needle aside until you are ready for the injection.
  4. Pick a location for the injection. The best sites are areas with a layer of fat between the skin and muscle – front of the thigh; the upper, outer arm; or your belly (at least one inch away from your navel). Avoid skin that is red, irritated, bruised, burned, hardened, scarred, or has lumps or stretch marks.
  5. Using an alcohol swab, clean a two-inch area around the site you have chosen. Allow the area to air dry.
  6. Hold the syringe in your dominant hand (right- or left-handed), and use the other hand to pinch a fold of the clean skin.
  7. Hold the syringe like a pen, and with a quick, dart-like motion, push the needle into the skin at an angle between 45° – 90° with the angled (beveled) side of the needle facing up.
  8. Once the needle is in, let go of the pinched skin and use that hand to hold the syringe in place. With your dominant hand, pull back the plunger slightly. If you do not see blood, gently push the plunger all the way down. If you do see blood in the syringe, do not inject. Take out the needle and throw it away. You will have to try again with a new needle and use a different injection site.
  9. Withdraw the needle at the same angle as it was inserted. Hold a cotton ball or alcohol prep pad over the site – do not rub. If there is any bleeding after 5 seconds, cover with a Band-Aid®.
  10. Use each syringe only once. Discard used syringe into a hard container.
  11. After two hours, check the injection site for signs of redness, swelling, or tenderness. If any of these are present and do not go away in a few days, notify your clinic.