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How Do I Fill a Syringe?

Filling a syringe accurately is crucial for administering medication safely. Start by washing your hands, then remove the cap and pull the plunger back to draw in the prescribed amount of liquid. Tap out any air bubbles and double-check the dosage. For a step-by-step visual guide, see our detailed images below. What will you learn next about precise medication management?
Jodee Redmond
Jodee Redmond

When trying to fill a syringe, cleanliness is an important consideration. The syringe and vial should be inspected carefully before each use. The cap should be removed from the needle, which is then inserted into the liquid — sometimes through a rubber seal on the vial. Pull back on the syringe's plunger until the liquid is just past the fill level for the amount that needs to be injected. Then push on the plunger to eject the excess amount before using the syringe. The syringe should be examined carefully to ensure there are no air bubbles present before it is used.

To fill a syringe, the best way to start is to place all the supplies needed on a flat surface. Rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs or pre-moistened alcohol towelettes should be placed close by before you start. These items will be used to clean the surface of the skin before the injection is performed.

A syringe.
A syringe.

Before starting to fill a syringe, the person preparing it for use should examine the packaging carefully to check its expiration date. The expiration date on the vial also should be checked. Examine the vial closely to ensure that the rubber seal is intact and that no fluid has leaked out of it. Look at the contents of the vial as well to make sure that they don't appear cloudy or discolored. If the liquid doesn't appear to be normal, discard the vial and use a new one for the injection.

A person filling a syringe.
A person filling a syringe.

After the inspection has been completed, the next step is to insert the tip of the needle into the vial of medication. The vial can be held in one hand or placed on the flat surface for this part of the process. The exact amount of medication needed should be confirmed before you fill the vial. When pulling the needle out of the vial, make sure that it doesn't come into contact with skin or any object. It's important for the needle to remain sterile until the injection is given.

A dental syringe.
A dental syringe.

The syringe can be flicked with the fingers a couple of times to remove any air bubbles that are trapped inside it. The last step to fill a syringe is to give the plunger on the syringe a gentle push to move it to the proper level for the amount of medication to be administered. The skin at the injection site should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol before the injection is performed.

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    • A syringe.
      By: RTimages
      A syringe.
    • A person filling a syringe.
      By: Scott Van Blarcom
      A person filling a syringe.
    • A dental syringe.
      By: Kinagra
      A dental syringe.
    • A closeup of the connection between a syringe barrel and needle.
      By: Eisenhans
      A closeup of the connection between a syringe barrel and needle.