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Giving an IM (intramuscular) injection

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Some medicines need to be given into a muscle to work correctly. An IM injection is a shot of medicine given into a muscle (intramuscular).

What you Need

You will need:

Where to Give the Injection

Where you give the injection is very important. The medicine needs to go into muscle. You do not want to hit a nerve or a blood vessel. So show your health care provider how you will choose where you will put the needle, to make sure you can find a safe spot.



Upper arm:


How to Give the IM Injection

To give an IM injection:

  1. Make sure you have the right amount of the right medicine in the syringe.
  2. Wash your hands well with soap and water. Dry them.
  3. Carefully find the spot where you will give the injection.
  4. Clean the skin at that spot with an alcohol wipe. Let it dry.
  5. Take the cap off the needle.
  6. Hold the muscle around the spot with your thumb and index finger.
  7. With a quick firm thrust, put the needle into the muscle straight up and down, at a 90 degree angle.
  8. Push the medicine into the muscle.
  9. Pull the needle straight out.
  10. Press the spot with the cotton ball.

If you have to give more than one injection, DO NOT put it in the same spot. Use the other side of the body or another site.

How to get rid of Used Syringes and Needles

To get rid of the used syringes and needles:

When to Call the Doctor

Call 911 right away if:

After getting the injection the person:

Call the provider if:


American Academy of Pediatrics website. Vaccine administration. Updated June 2020. Accessed November 2, 2020.

Ogston-Tuck S. Intramuscular injection technique: an evidence-based approach. Nurs Stand. 2014;29(4):52-59. PMID: 25249123


Review Date: 8/13/2020  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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