How to perform an intravenous injection

DISCLAIMER: Do not do this.

The following describes a procedure for self-administration of sterile chemicals into a vein.

Injecting into a vein is considerably more complicated and considerably more dangerous than other types of injection. That said, proper technique can at least minimize the possible damage.

Tourniquet:
  • To get the veins to rise to a level at which you can hit them, you will need a tourniquet.
  • It is important to choose a gentle tourniquet, as something too tight or hard could damage your delicate veins.
  • Rubber tubing is preferable. Other equivalents will suffice.
  • When tying the tourniquet, tuck it in upon itself or use a self-tightening loop. You want the tourniquet to be able to slip off.
Veins:
  • Your veins are precious and they will not last forever if you wantonly stick needles in them.
  • Veins contain valves to prevent the backflow of blood. Hitting a valve can cause irreparable damage to the vein, even leading to vein collapse.
  • To find the valve:
    1. Press your finger on the vein and run it slowly down its length.
    2. You should see a point where blood stops (i.e, the vein appears to stop as your finger passes that point).
    3. When you lift your finger, blood should flow again past that point.
    4. That point contains a valve.
Technique:
  1. Wash hands and injection site with antibacterial soap.
  2. Clean injection site with isopropyl alcohol.
  3. Wrap the tourniquet around your arm just above the injection site.
  4. Insert the needle at a 45 degree angle with the vein. You are injecting WITH the flow of the vein (which flows towards the heart). If you are hitting a vein in your arm, the needle will point towards the elbow
  5. Pull back the plunger slightly to test for blood. If their is no blood, pull it out - you missed. If the blood is bright red, foamy, and has considerable pressure behind it, pull out and apply direct pressure - you hit an artery, you don't want it there. (Hitting an artery is generally unlikely unless you are going for deep veins.)
  6. If the blood is dark, you're there.
  7. REMOVE THE TOURNIQUET. Injecting while a tourniquet is tied will cause too much pressure to build and may cause the vein to burst.
  8. Slowly push in plunger and administer chemical.
  9. Pull out and apply pressure with clean gauze.
  10. Keeping wound above heart will facilitate clotting and minimize bruising.
  11. Put a band-aid on it.

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