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How to Give an Intramuscular Shot: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

An intramuscular shot is an injection of medicine into a muscle. Some medicines—such as the hormone testosterone or fertility medicines—need to be injected into a muscle to work. This type of shot is usually given in the thigh or hip. If it's easier, you may want to have someone else give you the shot in your hip.

At first, you may be nervous about giving yourself a shot. But soon, giving the shot will become routine.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you give yourself an intramuscular shot?

Follow your health professional's instructions for where and how often to inject your medicine. Your nurse will show you how to give yourself the shot.

  1. Gather your equipment.

    This includes your syringe (containing medicine) and an alcohol wipe or a cotton ball dipped in alcohol.

  2. Wash your hands with soap and running water.

    Dry them well.

  3. Choose a spot on your thigh or behind your hip for the shot.
    Injection sites in the thigh and behind the hip

    Check to make sure that the muscle isn't already sore from activity. If it is sore, you could have pain in the area after giving the shot. If the muscle is sore, pick a new area for the shot.

  4. Use alcohol to clean the skin.

    Let it dry.

  5. Remove the cap from the needle.
  6. Hold the syringe like a dart close to the site.

    Keep your fingers off the plunger.

  7. Stretch the skin flat using your fingers and thumb of one hand.
  8. Place the syringe at a 90-degree angle to the shot site.

    The needle should stand straight up from the skin.

  9. Quickly jab the needle all the way into the skin.
    Needle through skin with detail of needle going through subcutaneous tissue to muscle
  10. Hold the syringe in place with one hand, and pull back on the plunger with the other hand.

    Pull the plunger slowly. If you see blood in the syringe, you have hit a blood vessel. If you hit a vessel, pull the needle out of the skin. Get rid of the needle and syringe, and prepare a new syringe with medicine. Insert the new needle in a different spot, and check again to see if there is blood.

  11. If there's no blood in the syringe, slowly push the plunger all the way in.

    This way, the medicine goes into the muscle.

  12. Take the needle out at the same angle that you inserted it.
    Needle being pulled out straight up from the skin
  13. If you bleed a little, apply pressure over the shot area.

    You can use your finger, a cotton ball, or a piece of gauze. To help avoid bruising, don't rub the area.

  14. Dispose of the needle safely.
    Putting syringe with needle into sharps container

    Don't use the same needle more than one time.

Slightly change the spot where you give the shot each time you do it.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.