This page will show you how to give a shot in the fatty tissue below the skin. This is called a subcutaneous (sub-kyu-TAY-nee-us) injection. Ask your doctor or nurse if this method is the correct one for the drug you are going to take. There are different instructions for giving shots of insulin and other types of drugs.
What you will need
- Drug (This comes already in the syringe.)
- Alcohol swab, or cotton ball moistened with alcohol
- Hard plastic or metal container with a screw-on or tightly-secured lid (You also can use the red container, if it came in your kit.)
Parts of a syringe and needle
You will use a syringe and needle to give the shot. The parts are labeled below.
Giving the shot
- Wash the work area (where you will set the drug and syringe) with soap and water.
- Wash your hands.
- Choose a place on your stomach or thigh where you will give the shot. You may be allowed to give the shot only in your stomach. Ask your nurse to be sure. If you’ve had hip surgery, avoid the areas near your incision. Give the shot in a different place each day. You should try to stay at least 1 inch from the last shot, any scars, and your belly button. Keep a diary to remember where your last shot was given (refer to “Daily Log” section). The diagram below shows some places where you may be allowed to give the shot.
- Wipe the area of skin with an alcohol swab. You also can use a cotton ball moistened with alcohol.
- Remove the cap from the syringe filled with the drug. Pull the cap straight off to keep from bending the needle.
- The syringe may have more than the amount of medicine prescribed. If so, while holding it with the needle pointing up, push the plunger until the correct amount of medicine remains in the syringe. The medicine will drip out, so be sure to hold it over the sink or waste basket.
- You will give the shot in the fatty tissue under your skin. Hold the syringe in one hand. With the other hand, gently pinch up the skin around where you will give the shot and hold firmly.
- Insert the needle at a 45- to 90-degree angle.
- Inject the drug slowly. Push down on the plunger until all of the drug solution is gone from the syringe.
- Take the needle out of your skin. If you bleed when the needle comes out, place an alcohol swab or cotton ball moistened with alcohol over the skin right away. Press gently on the swab until bleeding has stopped. Do not rub the skin.
- Throw away the syringe and needle in a hard plastic or metal container. Close the lid tightly. When the container is full, tape the lid down, and throw it away in the garbage. Note: Check your town’s guidelines on syringe disposal.
You may find it helpful to keep track of where on your body you give your shot each day. On the log below, each spot has a letter. When you give yourself a shot in a certain spot pictured on the diagram on the previous page, find the letter of the spot on the log below. In the empty space, write the date of the shot.
If you have any questions about these instructions, call your doctor or nurse at: