How to Give Yourself Intramuscular (IM) Injections
You can give yourself Intramuscular injections at home safely and accurately with
proper care and technique. The handout will guide you through the steps to give
yourself an injection. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask your
health care provider. The Clinic Phone Number is _____________________
Needles and syringes
Alcohol swabs or gauze
Vial with the drug solution
Sharps Container (HFFY #4587)
1. Wash your hands well with soap and water. Gather the supplies you need and
place them on a clean, dry surface.
NOTE: If your syringe is already drawn up, skip steps 2-7.
2. Screw a needle on the syringe hub unless your syringe comes with a
needle already attached.
3. Vial: Flip off the plastic top. Use an alcohol swab and wipe that
area well using outward circular motion for 10 seconds.
4. Remove the needle cover. To draw air into the syringe, pull the
plunger back to the correct volume, ______ cc (ml). (Diagram A)
5. Insert the needle straight into the vial through the
rubber top. Inject air into the bottle by pushing
down on the plunger. (Diagram B)
6. Using one hand, turn the vial with the syringe
upside down. Be sure the needle is in the bottle and
below the fluid level. Draw back the plunger to the
correct mark, _____ ml. (Diagram C)
7. Check for air bubbles in the syringe. Bubbles can
be removed by flicking the syringe with your finger.
If the air bubble is at the top of the syringe, push
gently on the plunger so the air goes back to the
bottle. Before removing the needle, be sure you have the proper
amount in the syringe.
8. Remove the needle from the vial. It is OK to put the cover on the needle for a
short time. Be very careful not to stick yourself. Never place the syringe with
uncovered needle on the surface you are working on.
Note: You should not inject more than 3 mL at one site. If the amount is more
than 3 mL, then divide the drug solution into two equal volumes and inject at two
different sites. For example, your dose is 5 mL. Use 2 syringes with 2.5 mL in
each one and inject the medicine at 2 different sites.
Now, You are Ready to Inject
Intramuscular injections are given into a muscle. To give
yourself an injection you will use your thigh.
9. Use the middle outer part of the thigh to inject. The
best area is one hand length below the hip and one hand
length above the knee. Use a 20-22 gauge, 1-1½
needle. See the shaded area on the figure.
10. Clean the skin area to be injected with an alcohol swab,
unless otherwise instructed by your health care
provider. Clean an area 2 inches in diameter. Use firm
circular motions while moving outward from the
injection site. Let the area dry for 20 seconds.
11. Remove the needle cover. Never touch the needle.
12. Spread the skin at the site between your thumb and index finger using your left
hand if you are right-handed or your right hand if you are left-handed (non
dominant hand). It will be helpful if you have an alcohol swab or clean gauze
ready to cover the site once you have pulled the needle out.
13. With your dominant hand, hold the syringe like a dart at a 90 θ angle to the site.
14. Insert the needle straight into the skin with a quick firm motion.
15. Supporting the syringe with your nondominant hand, pull the plunger slightly
with your dominant hand to check for blood unless your health care provider
has told you this step is not needed. If blood is seen in the syringe, do not
inject the medicine and take the syringe out and throw it away in a Sharps
container. Put gentle pressure on the site with the alcohol wipe or gauze for 30
seconds. You can massage gently. Start over with steps 2-9 to draw up a new
dose of medicine and inject at a new site.
16. If there is no blood, inject the medicine slowly until the syringe is empty.
17. Take the needle out quickly, at the angle in which it was injected.
18. Place an alcohol swab or gauze at the injection site and put pressure on the site
for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
19. Throw away the needle and syringe in the Sharps container. Do not recap the
20. Do not give yourself an injection in the same place every time. You may want
to use your left thigh one time and your right thigh the next. It may be helpful
to write down the site where you gave your last injection and the date. This
way you can make sure you always use a different site.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©7/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5450.