Sometimes medicine is given by injection (shot) when it cannot be given by mouth. A subcutaneous, or "sub-Q," injection is given under the skin (not into a muscle). When you give your child an injection, you may need someone to help you. If your child is old enough to understand, explain why the shot must be given. Try to get your child's mind off the shot. Let him or her play with a toy or squeeze someone's hand. A child of any age should be allowed to express fear and dislike of the shot.
You will Need
- Medicine ordered by your doctor
- Bottle of 70% alcohol
- mL disposable syringe
- Cotton ball or alcohol swabs
- ____ -gauge needles or size ____
- Adhesive bandage (optional)
- Filter needle (for use with ampules)
- "Sharps" container for syringe disposal
How to Give an Injection
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. Rinse and dry.
- Read the label on the bottle and make sure it is the right medicine.
- Clean the top of the bottle well with an alcohol swab or a cotton ball dipped in alcohol. Let the alcohol dry completely.
- Remove the needle cover from the disposable syringe. (If you need to attach the needle, leave the needle inside the package while you attach it to the syringe.) Push the plunger back and forth to make sure it moves freely.
Bottles with Rubber Stoppers
Medicine From an Ampule
- Follow steps 1 and 2 on page 1.
- Clean the neck of the ampule with an alcohol swab or a cotton ball dipped in alcohol.
- Remove the filter needle cover from the disposable syringe. (If you need to attach the filter needle, leave the filter needle inside the package while you attach it to the syringe.) Push the plunger back and forth to make sure it moves freely.
- Cover the ampule with the cotton ball dipped in alcohol or alcohol swab and snap off the top.
- Hold the ampule with your thumb and first finger. Put the needle tip into the solution. Pull back on the syringe plunger to get the medicine into the syringe. Tilt the ampule as needed. Be sure that the right amount of medicine is in the syringe.
- Replace the filter needle with a regular needle.
- Follow steps 8 through 12 (above) for giving the injection.
- Throw away the used filter needle and ampule in the "sharps" container.
How to Dispose of the Used Needle and Syringe
- Do not recap the used needle. Do not bend or break off the needle. Do not remove the needle from the syringe.
- Put the used syringe with attached needle into the "sharps" container.
- Put the "sharps" container into a brown paper bag and return it to your doctor or clinic when it is two-thirds (2/3) full or the next time you come to the office or clinic.
Storage of Equipment
- Store items in a cupboard out of the reach of children and others who might misuse them.
- Keep items clean and free of dust.
- Some medicines must be kept in the refrigerator. Check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist on how to store your medicine.
Injection Areas and Sites
Injection areas are the places on your body where you can give your medicine (Picture 1). Injection sites are the actual spots where you put the medicine in. There are several "sites" in each "area".
Injections may be given into the:
- Upper, outer leg (thigh)
- Upper, outer arm
- Lower abdomen (except the area right around the navel and waistline)
- Upper hip (buttocks) (See Picture 2)
How to Begin your Rotation Plan
Plan 1. Choose one leg to start your child’s rotation plan. When all injection sites are used on this leg, move to the next area. For example, start with the left leg and go to the right leg. Then go to the right arm, to the left arm, then back to the left leg. By doing this, you will let each injection area "rest" for a few weeks between injections.
Plan 2. Choose one side of the body for the first injection. Then use the same site on the other side of the body for the next injection.
If you have any questions, please ask your doctor or nurse or call .
HH-V-17 4/78, Revised 9/16 Copyright 1978 Nationwide Children’s Hospital