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 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.
- Gather your equipment.
This includes your syringe (containing medicine) and an alcohol wipe or a cotton ball dipped in alcohol.
- Wash your hands with soap and running water.
Dry them well.
- Choose a spot on your outer thigh or the side of your 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.
- Use alcohol to clean the skin.
Let it dry.
- Remove the cap from the needle.
- Hold the syringe like a dart close to the site.
Keep your fingers off the plunger.
- Stretch the skin flat using your fingers and thumb of one hand.
- Place the syringe at a 90-degree angle to the shot site.
The needle should stand straight up from the skin.
- Quickly jab the needle all the way into the skin.
- If your doctor told you to check for blood in the syringe before giving yourself the medicine, follow these steps.
- Hold the syringe in place with one hand. Slowly pull back on the plunger with your other hand.
- Look for blood in the syringe.
- If you see blood, you have hit a blood vessel. If this happens, pull the needle out of the skin. Get rid of the needle and syringe and prepare a new syringe with medicine. Insert the needle in a different spot and check again to see if there's blood.
- If there's no blood in the syringe, you're ready to inject the medicine.
- Slowly push the plunger all the way in.
This way, the medicine goes into the muscle.
- Take the needle out at the same angle that you inserted it.
- 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.
- Dispose of the needle safely.
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 if you have any problems.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter K509 in the search box to learn more about "How to Give an Intramuscular Shot: Care Instructions".
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator & David C.W. Lau MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology