Certain medicines are effective only if given into the muscles. IM (intramuscular) injections serve this purpose. This article provides guidelines to administer an IM injection in the deltoid muscle.
Our body tries and fights infections to the best of our ability. However, at times, we need protection from an outside source. Or, even after an infection has occurred in the body, we need treatment that can directly act in the body quickly. For this, we cannot rely on oral medication, which after being ingested will be digested, and then will act on the pathogens. So, to counter this problem, injections are resorted to. There are different types of injections, and their routes of administration include intramuscular ones and subcutaneous injections.
The deltoid muscle is just one of the muscles where one can administer an intramuscular injection. One can also give an intramuscular injection in the thigh or on the buttocks. However, the deltoid muscle is the one that is most commonly used. This muscle is triangular in shape, and located on the top of the shoulder and uppermost portion of the arm. It is attached by tendons to the skeleton at the collarbone, shoulder blade, and upper-arm bone. It is broader at the top of the shoulder and tapers to its apex as it travels down the arm.
Following are the steps for administering IM injection in the deltoid muscle:
- Firstly, you need to know everything there is to know about syringes. A syringe consists of three main parts: the needle, the barrel, and the plunger. When you wish to give an injection, you need to have a syringe, sterilized cotton, and the vial containing the injectable drug in it.
- Take the needle and insert it into the vial. Then, push the plunger down so that the air in the syringe is forced out. After this, turn the vial upside down and pull the plunger so that it sucks in the medicine. Ensure that the tip of the needle is inside the medicine so that it does not suck in air.
- After you have taken as much medication as is required, take the needle out of the vial. Push the plunger a bit more till some of the medication spurts out, so as to remove any air that may have crept in. This is an important step to ensure that there are minimum chances of an air embolism.
- Now, you need to take some sterilized cotton and rub it over the expected site of injection. The patient may be in a sitting, standing, or supine position depending on his and your preference.
- You need to palpate the humerus, which is the bone of the upper arm. The right place to give the injection is around an inch or two below the starting point of the bone, that is, an inch or two below the acromion process (the bone that goes across the top of the upper arm).
- Once the site of injection has been finalized, you need to depress and pull the skin of this site with your non-dominant hand. Hold the syringe in your dominant hand. Then, use your wrist to direct the needle straight into the skin perpendicular to the skin, that is, at an angle of 90 degrees. Don’t push or drag the needle in, but don’t throw it in either.
- You can then let go off the arm, and then pull the plunger a little. This is to aspirate and ensure that you are not in a blood vessel. Once the aspiration test is negative, push on the plunger and inject the medicine. Don’t push it with a lot of force, but gently and constantly push the plunger till all the medicine has been delivered into the muscle. Then, pull the needle out quickly, once again ensuring that it is perpendicular to the skin.
- Use the sterile gauze to wipe the area at the site of the injection.
The deltoid is a strong muscle, and is the preferred site for various intramuscular injections, like methotrexate injection, penicillin, rabies vaccine, and streptomycin, among other injections. This muscle should not be used as an injection site if the person is very thin or the muscle is very small. Be sure to know everything about an IM injection before attempting to give one. This is a task best left to qualified experts like doctors and nurses.
Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.