How to give a subcutaneous injection? It is a simple and inexpensive form of administration, very useful for slow-absorbing drugs such as insulin.
Subcutaneous injection is very often used in medicine. The reason is that it can be administered by the patient himself and works for common medications, such as insulin for diabetics.
The subcutaneous injection is one that is injected into the subcutaneous adipose tissue. That is, in the layer of fat that is between the skin and the muscle. This tissue contains few blood vessels, making it suitable for small volumes of drugs.
In addition, it is recommended that they be slow and continuous absorption drugs. Although it is easy to use, it is important to consider certain aspects of this form of administration.
What is subcutaneous injection?
Subcutaneous injection often tends to be confused with intradermal injection. The latter is done with a needle that only penetrates the dermis (the middle layer of the skin).
Like the subcutaneous, it is used for slow and local absorption products. The difference between the two is the depth and the angle at which it is performed. In the intradermal, the needle is punctured at an angle of about 10 degrees, almost parallel to the skin.
Subcutaneous injection, on the other hand, is one in which the needle penetrates the subcutaneous tissue. This tissue is found between the skin and the muscle layer. It is also called adipose tissue.
It is used to administer drugs in small volumes. In fact, they are usually amounts of less than 1 milliliter, although they can reach 2 milliliters. Being a tissue that is poorly vascularized, the medication that is administered is gradually absorbed.
This is one of the main differences from intravenous injection, which has a faster effect. In addition, the subcutaneous is easier to perform and less expensive. One of its main uses are drugs that cannot be prescribed orally.
Recommendations before giving it
Before applying a subcutaneous injection, certain aspects must be taken into account. As an article published in Nursing explains, irritant medications should not be injected. They can cause abscesses or even tissue necrosis.
Unlike other injections, you should not aspirate after inserting the needle. It is a gesture that is usually performed on IVs to check if the needle is properly placed. However, it could lead to the formation of a bruise.
It is also not recommended to massage the area where the drug has been injected. This can lead to faster absorption of it, which is not the desired effect.
The ideal is to vary the site of the injections if they are needed continuously. For example, as with insulin in diabetics. In this way the formation of scars is prevented.
The zones should be separated from each other by one or several centimeters. In the case of insulin, it is recommended to circle the abdomen to vary the puncture site.
Materials you need
Different materials are required to perform a subcutaneous injection. The first thing is the syringe. It consists of three parts: needle, barrel and plunger. The needle is the part that must penetrate the skin, while the barrel is where the medicine is stored. The plunger is used to push the medicine in and out of the syringe.
Syringes can have different capacities. They all consist of marks that help to know how many milliliters are going to be administered or how many international units.
A new needle must be used each time for a subcutaneous injection. They must be the correct size. Ideally, use disposable gloves when handling the needle or syringe, as this reduces the risk of infection.
To place all the materials it is recommended to have sterilized papers at home that are used as a surface. In addition, having disinfectant alcohol or alcohol wipes also works.
How to give a subcutaneous injection?
The subcutaneous injection should be done at a certain depth and at a suitable angle. They can be applied at 90 degrees (perpendicular) or at 45 degrees. The first angle is used when a more or less large pinch of the skin can be caught. The 45 degree angle is reserved for areas or people that have little fat tissue.
According to a publication, it is not always necessary to clean the skin before injection. You should only do it in cases where the skin is visibly dirty.
It is also important to prepare the syringe before the process. It is held in the most skilled hand, between the thumb and forefinger. With the other hand you have to grasp the portion of skin where the injection is to be made.
As a Kaiser Permanente article explains, the needle must be inserted hard. When it is completely in, the plunger of the syringe must be depressed to allow the drug to enter. The needle is then withdrawn at the same angle that it was inserted.
Once this is done, the skin fold is released. The injection site may bleed lightly. In that case, applying a little pressure with a cotton ball or gauze is enough.
Where can you give the injection?
Subcutaneous injections can be given in different areas of the body. One of the most used areas is the abdomen. The needle should be inserted 2 inches from the navel, avoiding getting too close. Neither should you put pressure on the hip bone or the ribs.
Another area that can be used for subcutaneous injection is the leg. Specifically, the outer area of the thigh, between the knee and the hip.
The lower back, just above the buttocks, is another area that is used. In this case, the injection should be done below the waist and on an imaginary line slightly above the buttocks. Finally, it can also be specified on the arm.
Learn how to place it to reduce risks
Subcutaneous injection is a type of injection that is made into the fatty tissue between the skin and the muscle. It is used to administer small volumes of medications. In addition, they must be drugs that require slow and gradual absorption.
One of its main uses is the administration of insulin. To do this properly, it is recommended to change the injection site and properly prepare the materials. In the same way, it is essential to follow the best conditions of sterility and asepsis. Now that you know what to do, you are ready to do it! Don’t be afraid and just know: you’ll nail it! You can do it! Help a friend in need!
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