How to Inject Intramuscular Arm Injections

By | April 17, 2017


An intramuscular injection injects medicine deep into the muscle layer rather than just under the skin. While the thought of administering an intramuscular injection to yourself or someone you care for can be a little frightening, it can be an important part of treating a variety of conditions. With a little practice, this simple procedure can become second nature. Understanding the technique for performing an IM injection is the first step to conquering your fear and learning how to do it well.

Things You’ll Need

  1. Alcohol wipe
  2. Sterile gauze
  3. Needle and syringe
  4. Medication to be injected

Gloves Bandage Gather the items listed above so that they will be nearby when you need them. Select the best arm for administering the injection. Choose an injection site that’s free from scars, bumps and other skin irritations. Give the injection in the deltoid muscle of the upper arm, not in the surrounding fatty areas. Wash your hands well, and put on gloves. Clean the area where you will be injecting the medicine with an alcohol wipe. Let the skin dry naturally, as blowing or fanning will direct bacteria to the area. Take the cap off the needle, and insert it into the medication vial. Turn the vial upside down and draw the prescribed amount of liquid down into the syringe.


Eliminiate any air bubbles by pointing the needle upward and gently flicking the side of the syringe. Press the syringe plunger slowly until the air bubbles exit the syringe. Attach a new needle to the syringe after this step so the needle will be sharp for the injection, if desired. Grasp the syringe using three fingers, the way you would hold a pen. Press down gently with your other hand and spread the skin of the area you will be injecting. Insert the needle into the skin at a 90-degree angle with a quick, dart-like motion so the needle will pierce the skin easily. A slow, pushing motion makes the shot more painful. You will know the needle is fully inserted when it is no longer visible.

Hold the syringe in place, and carefully let go of the skin with your other hand. Use your free hand to pull the syringe’s plunger back slightly. If there is blood in the syringe, remove the needle and start again. Proceed to the next step if the syringe is free from blood. Inject the medication with steady pressure. When the syringe is empty, quickly pull out the needle. Hold a piece of gauze against the injection site, then cover the area with a small bandage. Dispose of the needle properly.


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