Giving a glucagon injection

Choose the injection site: Step 1

Holding arm near the injection site
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slide 1 of 7, Choose the injection site: Step 1,

Choose a clean injection site on the buttock, upper arm, or thigh. If an alcohol swab is available, use it to clean the skin where you will give the injection.

Hold the needle close to the skin: Step 2

Pinching a fold of skin at the injection site
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slide 2 of 7, Hold the needle close to the skin: Step 2,

Hold the syringe like a pencil close to the site, keeping your fingers off the plunger.

Insert the needle: Step 3

Inserting needle into arm
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slide 3 of 7, Insert the needle: Step 3,

Bend your wrist, and quickly push the needle all the way into the site.

Give the injection: Step 4

Giving the injection
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slide 4 of 7, Give the injection: Step 4,

Push the plunger of the syringe all the way in so that the medicine goes into the tissue. Give the amount of glucagon that the person's doctor has recommended. Remove the needle from the skin slowly and at the same angle that you inserted it. Press the alcohol swab, if you used one, against the injection site.

Turn the head to the side: Step 5

Turning the person's head to the side
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slide 5 of 7, Turn the head to the side: Step 5,

After giving the injection, turn the person's head to the side, to prevent choking if he or she vomits.

Call for emergency help: Step 6

Phone showing emergency number
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slide 6 of 7, Call for emergency help: Step 6,

After you give the glucagon shot, immediately call 911 or other emergency services. If emergency services have not arrived within 15 minutes and the person is still unconscious, give another glucagon shot.

Give quick-sugar food: Step 7

Person getting quick sugar from a lollipop
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slide 7 of 7, Give quick-sugar food: Step 7,

Give some glucose or sucrose tablets or quick-sugar food when the person is alert and able to swallow. Also give the person some long-acting source of carbohydrate such as crackers and cheese or a meat sandwich. Stay with the person until emergency help arrives.

Current as of: August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
David C.W. Lau MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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