How to Give Yourself a Subcutaneous Shot: Care Instructions

Skip Navigation

A subcutaneous (say "sub-kyoo-TAY-nee-us") shot is an injection of medicine under the skin, but not in a muscle. Some medicines, such as insulin and some kinds of blood-thinners, are injected only under the skin. This type of shot is usually given in the belly or the thigh.

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.

2. Choose a spot on your belly or thigh for the shot. Each time, use a slightly different spot. 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. Slightly pinch a fold of skin at the spot you chose. Pinch it between the fingers and thumb of your other hand.

5. Place the syringe at a 90-degree angle to the shot site. The needle should stand straight up from the skin.

6. Quickly push the needle all the way into the pinched-up fold of skin. Then push the plunger all the way in. Let go of the skin fold.

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?

Go to

Enter Y984 in the search box to learn more about "How to Give Yourself a Subcutaneous Shot: Care Instructions".

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.