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What Is a Needleless Syringe?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A needleless syringe is a device which features a plunger which moves in and out of a thin tube. It has a thin nozzle at the opposite end of the tube which is normally used for administering liquids for various medicinal purposes. Although similar, the needleless syringe is slightly different in design than those used for giving vaccines and other shots. For instance, the end nozzle tip is normally larger, as well as the tube.

There are many uses for a needleless syringe, most of them being medicinal in nature. One of the most common involves the administration of liquid mediation orally. They may also be used to give fluids in small amounts to infants, children, or animals. Sometimes these syringes are used to feed formula or breast milk to an infant who cannot suck at the breast or from a bottle or to avoid nipple confusion in a breastfed infant who needs supplementation.

Sometimes this type of syringe will be used to administer an enema, which is a liquid solution that is inserted into the rectum in order to relieve constipation. These can take the form of a traditionally designed syringe, or can be much larger with a nozzle attached to a bulb at one end instead of a plunger. Both versions are effective for this purpose.

Occasionally, a needleless syringe is used for recreational purposes. For instance, alcoholic beverages such as “jelly shots” are consumed via a plastic syringe. These can be found at many party supply stores or through online retailers.

Most of these syringes are made from plastic and feature measuring markers on one or more sides. They may be purchased through specialty medical retailers, both online and in person. Sometimes hospitals or clinics may distribute them to patients for use with specific medications or other treatments. Occasionally they are purchased in bulk by patients who use them often or medical establishments.

Some medications may come with a needleless syringe in the original packaging. No other measuring device should be used in the administration of these medications, and the syringe should likewise not be used to measure any other medication. If using a syringe that has been purchased separately, it is important to ensure that it features the proper measurement system or that amounts can be correctly converted into the proper system.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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