How to Give an Intramuscular Shot: Care Instructions

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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 care for yourself at home?

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.

Giving the shot

  1. Gather 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 hip for the shot. 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 before you give the shot. Let it dry.
  5. Remove the cap from the needle. Hold the syringe like a dart close to the site, keeping your fingers off the plunger.
  6. Stretch the skin flat using your fingers and thumb of one hand.
  7. Most doctors recommend placing the syringe at a 90-degree angle to the shot site, standing straight up from the skin.
  8. Quickly jab the needle all the way into the skin.
  9. Holding the syringe in place with one hand, use the other hand to slowly pull back on the plunger. 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.
  10. If there's no blood in the syringe, slowly push the plunger of the syringe all the way in so the medicine goes into the muscle.
  11. Take the needle out at the same angle that you inserted it.
  12. If you bleed a little, apply pressure over the shot area with your finger, a cotton ball, or a piece of gauze. To help avoid bruising, don't rub the area.
  13. Replace the cover over the needle, and dispose of the needle safely. Don't use the same needle more than one time.
  14. 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 miss a dose and aren't sure what to do.
  • You have problems with your medicine.

Where can you learn more?

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

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