How to Give Yourself an Intramuscular Shot: Care Instructions

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An intramuscular shot is an injection of medicine into a muscle. Some medicines—such as fertility medicines—must be injected into a muscle to work. This type of shot is usually given in the thigh or hip.

How to give yourself the shot

Follow your health professional's instructions for how to give yourself a shot. Here are some general steps for how to do it.

1. Gather your equipment. This includes your syringe (containing medicine) and an alcohol wipe. Wash your hands with soap and water.

2. Choose a spot on your outer thigh or the side of your hip for the shot. Each time, use a slightly different spot that isn’t sore. Clean the skin with the alcohol wipe, and let it dry.

3. Remove the cap from the needle, and hold the syringe like a pencil close to the site. Keep your fingers off the plunger.

4. Stretch the skin flat using the fingers and thumb of your other hand, and place the syringe at a 90-degree angle to the shot site. The needle should stand straight up from the skin.

5. If your doctor told you to check for blood in the syringe before giving yourself the medicine, follow their instructions.

6. Quickly jab the needle all the way into the skin. Then slowly push the plunger all the way in.

7. 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 gauze.

8. Dispose of the needle safely. Don't use the same needle more than once.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you are having problems with your injections or have skin changes at the injection sites.

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.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.