Squirt, Jab, Push, Pull

Squirt, Jab, Push, Pull

(On the Common Types of Injection Routes)

I feel lucky working in a hospital because even though I haven’t practiced the course that I finished in university 19 years ago—Bachelor of Science in Nursing—I’m just a step lower, for I am currently working as a health care aide. My job at the respiratory and rehabilitation unit of the health centre where I’m working continues to expose me to many nursing procedures. Interacting with my coworkers, especially the nurses, and listening closely during endorsement meetings, I get to refresh myself with many of the knowledge I learned during my university days. Add to that, my having worked as an editor and writer of academic textbooks and magazines, handling among various subjects science and technology, updated my scholastic knowledge and made me always in touch with the researcher and learner in me. Like one day at work, two nurses were discussing about injection routes. They were asking what type of injection route was that which involved jabbing the needle just beneath the dermis of the skin at an angle of about 10-15 degrees. I said, “What is intradermal!”; as if I was a contestant on Jeopardy.

Routes of Injection
You surely have received an injection yourself for some medications or have taken your children for vaccination. You might have noticed that the way the nurse or the physician have poked the syringe onto the person varied from case to case. This is because there are several types of injection, depending on the procedure or the substance being administered.

What do we mean by injection in the medical parlance, anyway?
An injection (also referred to as a “shot” or a “jab”) is an infusion method of putting fluid into the body, usually with a hollow needle and a syringe which is pierced through the skin to a sufficient depth for the material to be forced into the body. There are several methods of injection or infusion, the common of which are intradermal, subcutaneous, intramuscular, and intravenous.

Intradermal route – the injection is administered just beneath the skin, with the needle being inserted shallowly at an angle of 10 to 15 degrees; it is often used for conducting skin allergy tests.

Subcutaneous route – the injection is administered into the subcutis, the layer of skin directly below the dermis and epidermis, at an angle of about 45 degrees; this route is highly effective in administering vaccines and medications.

Intramuscular route – the injection of a substance directly into a muscle; the needle is usually inserted almost in its entirety at an angle of 90 degrees; this route is often used for particular forms of medication that are administered in small amounts.

Intravenous route – the injection of substances directly into a vein; this is the fastest way to deliver fluids and medications throughout the body; some medications, as well as blood transfusions and lethal injections, can be given only intravenously; for this route, a so-called intravenous line is started first to ensure that there is no air entering the blood stream and allows an estimate of flow rate.

The Last Leaf
The discussion took me back to my university days when I was still learning about the topic. To ordinary people, especially those professionals whose work or interest does not lie in the medical or health-care field, such topic may seem trivial. However, learning about these things is always empowering—especially to someone like me who regards knowledge as a very powerful weapon against ignorance and discrimination.