If you are prescribed a self-medication that you will need to take regularly at home, such as fertility drugs or hormones, vitamin B12 injections, insulin , epinephrine , or cancer drugs, you have several important responsibilities.
You will need to learn how to give yourself the medicine safely, and you will need to get the needles and syringes (the clear tubes that hold the medicine) for the injections.
The correct choice of needle and syringe is essential to obtain the correct dose of medication, correct administration and minimize pain. To keep things simple, these items are sold separately and are designed to hold securely.
Your doctor or nurse will show you how to inject yourself at home, including the syringes and needles to use. However, it helps to know the basics of needle and syringe sizing to avoid mistakes when it's time to replace them.
Syringes are labeled according to how much liquid they can hold. Syringe capacity can be measured in two ways.
Measure syringe capacity
- Milliliters (ml) for liquid volume
- Cubic Centimeters (cc) for Volume of Solids
Whichever measure is used, 1 cm3 is equal to 1 ml .
If you are administering the medicine at home , be sure to choose a syringe that contains the prescribed dose .
For example, if you need to inject 3 ml of medicine, you can use a syringe that contains exactly 3 ml (or a little more). If you are using a syringe that contains only 2 ml, you will have to inject yourself more than once (which will be unnecessarily painful).
On the other hand, if you are using a 15cc syringe. Look, it will be harder to see the marks on the cube. Cm and measure 3cc accurately. Too little or too much medicine can be given easily.
Needles are labeled differently than syringes. The package will have a number, then the letter "G" and another number.
Determining the needle size
- The first number before the letter G indicates the gauge of the needle. The higher the number, the finer the needle.
- The second number indicates the length of the needle in inches.
For example, a 22G 1/2 needle is 22 gauge and is half an inch long.
If you need to inject a small amount of medicine, it will usually be less painful to use a fine, large-gauge needle rather than a wider, smaller-gauge needle .
For more medicine, a smaller, wider needle is usually the best option. Although this may cause more pain, a wide, small-gauge needle will inject faster than a fine, large-gauge needle .
As for the length of the needle, the best choice will depend on the height of the person (a young child will need a shorter needle than an adult) and where the needle is inserted. Also , some drugs can be absorbed superficially. (directly under the skin), while others must be injected into the muscle.
Subcutaneous injections are injected into the fatty tissue just under the skin. Because these are relatively small shots, a small, short needle is required, usually one-half to five-eighths of an inch long with a 25 to 30 gauge.
Intramuscular injections are injected directly into the muscle. The muscle is deeper than the subcutaneous layer of the skin, so the needle used for intramuscular injection must be thicker and longer. Generally, 20 or 22G needles are best suited for lengths from one inch to one and a half inches.
For these injections, you must consider how much fat the needle needs to pass through. While a thin person may use a 1-inch long needle, someone heavier may need a 1½-inch needle .
Get the word of drug information
If you have been prescribed a medication that you will need to inject regularly at home, you need to know how to do it safely. You may need to learn how to inject yourself correctly, or a family member may need to learn how to inject. If you are caring for someone who needs vaccinations at home, you may need to learn how to give them vaccinations.
If you need to give yourself or someone else an injectable medication, feel free to contact the healthcare provider who prescribed it if you have any questions. Knowing the basics of needle size marking will help you avoid errors when injecting medications, as well as ensure correct replacement of consumables.