Subcutaneous Injections and Body Sites

Preparing a subcutaneous injection:




Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Dry on a clean towel.Remove the plastic cap from the drug vial. Wipe the top of the rubber stopper with an alcohol swap. let dry for 10 seconds.



 After removing the bubbles, check the dose of medication in the syringe to be sure that you have drawn up the correct dose. Draw up more medication as needed then repeat the above steps to remove air bubbles.  

 Carefully recap the needle to prevent needle stick injuries during transit to the administration location.

 Use a chart for injection sites, and mark each site once it is used.


This is important because repeated injections in the same area can cause scarring and hardening of fatty tissue that will interfere with absorption of medication.

  Expose the injection site. Clean the skin in a circular motion with an alcohol swab, beginning at the center and moving outwards, and let the area dry for about 10 seconds. Remove the needle cap. Hold the syringe barrel as if you were holding a pencil.With your other hand, pinch a fold of skin where the injection will be made.


Hold the syringe at a 45o to 90o angle (half-slanted to straight up from the surface), about 2 inches from the skin surface.




 Insert the needle with a quick jab, as if throwing a dart. The needle should go all of the way into the skin.

Pull back on the plunger a little.

If you see blood in the syringe, do not inject the solution.

Remove the syringe right away and discard this syringe.

Prepare a new syringe and try again at a new site.

If there is NO blood in the syringe, slowly push the plunger to inject the drug solution.

Remove the needle.

Put a clean alcohol swab over the injection site, hold for 5 seconds.

If there is bleeding cover with an adhesive bandage.

SC1.jpg image by derixc




 Choosing an injection site:

Rotate injection sites, so that the same site is only used once every 6 to 7 weeks.

 Use an injection site where there is a layer of fat between the skin and muscle, such as the thighs, upper arms or abdomen.

 Remove the needle cap, and push the needle through the rubber stopper into the vial. 

Turn the vial upside down and make sure that the needle tip is in the solution. 

 Pull back the syringe plunger slowly, to draw out your dose.  

Remove the needle from the vial and gently tap the syringe barrel (needle end up) to clear air bubbles. Collect air bubbles at the top of the syringe barrel and slowly push the plunger to eject air. 


Perry, A, G, Potter, P, A, Ross-Kerr, J, C and Wood, M, J. 2006. Canadian fundamentals of nursing. 3rded. Toronto: Elselvier


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