Elevate MD How to Guides: Safe and Easy Self-Injections

A guide to safe and easy self-injections

To avoid infection, a safe subcutaneous (SC) injection begins with thorough hand washing.

Step 1: Make sure your hands are clean.

To wash your hands, follow these steps:

Apply soap to your hands after washing them with clean, running water. Scrub your hands from top to bottom, including:

Hands’ backs
Fingernail fungus is a type of fungus that grows under the
Fingers together

To make a lather, rub your hands together. Scrub your hands from top to bottom, including under your fingernails (see above).

Continue rubbing your hands for about 20 seconds—about as long as it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

Using water, sanitize your hands.

Using a paper towel or an air dryer, dry your hands. If at all possible, turn off the faucet with your paper towel.

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and clean water aren’t available:

Apply the sanitizer to one hand’s palm.
Rub the sanitizer all over your hands and fingers until they are completely dry.

Step 2: Get your medicine and supplies organized.

Check the name of the medicine, the dosage, and the expiration date. If your medicine is kept in the refrigerator, take it out 30 to 40 minutes before you plan to inject it to allow it to warm up to room temperature.

Then, to set up your medicine and injection supplies, follow these steps:

Place your medicine and supplies on a clean, dry surface, such as a counter or table in the bathroom or kitchen.

Prepare your medicine according to your doctor’s instructions. Also, read the Package Insert (Instructions For Use) that came with your medication. Depending on the dosage form, the instructions for preparing your medicine may differ (how your medicine is supplied by the manufacturer).

Step 3: Get Your Medicine Ready to Inject

Small needles are used to administer SC injections. Use the needle size(s) recommended by your doctor or those specified in the package insert.

Then, to prepare for your injection, follow these guidelines:

Make a decision about where you’ll inject your medicine.

SC injections are most commonly administered in the upper arms, stomach, or thighs. With each injection, rotate the injection site. Keep a written record of where you injected your medicine the last time.

If the skin is injured, tender, hard, red, hot, or has visible veins, scars, or stretch marks, do not inject.

Using a back-and-forth motion, clean the injection area with an alcohol wipe.

Allow the alcohol to dry completely in the open air.

Step 4: Take your medicine and inject it.

When you take your medicine correctly and exactly as directed, it will work best. For the best results, follow these guidelines:

Remove the cap with care, making sure the needle does not come into contact with anything.

As directed in the Package Insert, hold the syringe or pen as directed (Instructions For Use).

Pinch the body area where you’ll inject with the other hand to collect the fatty layer beneath your skin.

Push the needle into the pinched skin quickly, either straight up and down or at a slight angle, as directed by your doctor.

Let go of the skin you were pinching once the needle is in.

Inject the medicine by slowly and steadily pushing the pre-filled syringe plunger until the syringe is empty. If you’re using a pen device, press the injection button completely (or until it clicks), then remove the needle from the skin after 10 to 20 seconds.

Pull the needle out quickly and gently press on the wound with an alcohol swab or tissue.