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Best Practices for Administering Injections

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Updated June 10, 2012

The first time you do an injection, either for yourself or for someone else, the process can be intimidating. Here are a few of the common questions that people have when performing an injection.

Clarify Your Instructions

Make sure that you understand the way that the medication is mixed and administered. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to clarify the instructions.

Make Sure That the Medication is Good

Check the expiration date before drawing up or mixing the medication. If the medication or diluent (the liquid that is used to mix a powder) has expired, do not use it. Check the medication itself to make sure that it looks correct (ie: that the color is correct, and that it's clear if it should be, etc.) If you have any doubts, or are unsure what the medication is supposed to look like, contact your pharmacy or doctor before taking the medication.

Be As Sanitary As Possible

Wash your hands and work on a clean surface. Make sure to thoroughly clean the top of the medication vial with an alcohol pad prior to taking medicine out of it. It’s also important to clean your skin before the injection.

Never Reuse a Needle and/or Syringe

If you need to administer a second injection or make a mistake with the first, dispose of the entire system (including needle, syringe, alcohol pads) and set up a new one.

Dispose of Needles the Right Way

Always put used needles/syringes into a designated, labeled sharps container. Never put them into the garbage can. Once the container is full, contact your doctor’s office or the pharmacy for instructions on how to dispose of it properly.

Store Multi-Dose Vials Properly

If you are using a vial with many doses of medication in it (known as a multi-dose vial), store the opened vial as directed. Many times the vial must be refrigerated after opening. In addition, the medication is usually only good for 28 days after opening the vial.
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