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Image of a lady giving herself an injection with a syringe.

Tips for Giving a Pain-Free and Effective Self-Injection

Medical progress has allowed for more and more self-injecting medications. Self injections can be convenient but many experience anxiety around giving themselves an injection. One of the best ways to approach self-injections is the knowledge of how to give yourself an injection in the safest and most effective way possible. Here are some tips to consider on your journey to safe and effective self injections. 

Have your health care team show you how to give a self injection 

Your family doctor or pharmacist is a great resource to help you feel more comfortable. Walking through each step with a trained professional will help you feel more at ease with the equipment you will need to use and the correct dose of medication. 

Prepare your equipment and environment 

Set the stage by lighting a candle or playing some relaxing music. Make your environment a place where you feel comfortable. Preparation is essential to ensuring that the process is smooth and effective. Arranging all the supplies you need will ensure that you do not forget a step and will make the process more streamlined. Prepare the following supplies: 

  • Alcohol swab 
  • Needle(s)/ Pen needle 
  • Syringe 
  • Medication vial or pen 
  • Cotton ball 
  • Band aid 
  • Sharps container 

Understand your technique 

Arm yourself with the technical knowledge of your specific injection. Intramuscular injections go into a large muscle such as the deltoid or thigh muscle. Subcutaneous injections go into the layer of fat under the skin. Steps for both intramuscular injections and subcutaneous injections are similar. Listed below are general steps for injections:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water 
  • Clean the top of the vial with an alcohol swab 
  • Wait until the vial is dry before inserting the needle 
  • Attach the needle to the syringe 
  • Prepare the syringe by pulling the plunger back, filling the syringe with air. The amount of air drawn into the syringe should be the same amount as the medication you are planning to inject. 
  • Keeping the vial on a flat surface, insert the needle through the rubber top of the vial. Press the plunger down so all the air injected into the syringe goes into the vial.
  • Turn the vial upside down so you are holding it in your hand with the syringe hanging below it. Making sure the tip of the needle is in the liquid, slowly pull on the plunger to fill the syringe with medication to the correct dose. **Try to avoid air bubbles to ensure the dose you are measuring is accurate
  • Clean the skin where you plan to inject with an alcohol swab. **Make sure to let the alcohol dry to avoid stinging
  •  Insert the needle into your skin at a 90-degree angle.
  • Push down on the plunger of the syringe to inject the medication.
  • Remove the needle at the same angle it was inserted into your skin.
  • Throw away the needle and syringe into your sharps container. **Never recap your needle once it has been used for injection
  • If you are bleeding after your injection, press the injection site with a cotton ball for 30 seconds until the bleeding has stopped. Then place a band aid over the injection site.
  • Wash your hands again, store your medication and equipment in a secure place.

With the right supplies and a solid understanding of your injection technique and equipment you can have the confidence and independence to administer your own medications. 

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