Different Types Of Needles & Syringes: A Helpful User Guide For Parents

Sameer C
·5-min read

The post-pandemic era has made it nearly mandatory for each one of us to be aware of basic medical supplies. Right from how to administer medicines, to learning about different types of needles; a crash course in personal safety and first aid seems necessary for kids and adults.

This is especially true if you are someone with a pre-existing medical condition or need to attend family or friends with co-morbidities. But still, some people just prefer to self-administer drugs at home especially those who need vitamin B12 shots, insulin, epinephrine, fertility drugs, or cancer medications.

That’s why it’s important to know how to handle basic medical equipment, especially something as simple as a syringe. And for that, you need to know about the different types of needles required to administer the shot.

It’s important to choose the right needle and syringe to take the correct dose of medicine as prescribed by your healthcare provider. For instance, if you need to take about 3 cc of medicine using a syringe, then you need to choose the right needle and fill up the syringe with the right quantity so that you don’t have to inject yourself twice.

Different Types Of Needles: A Helpful Guide For Parents

different types of needles
different types of needles

Image Source: Pexels

Needles and syringes are sold separately and then securely attached before use. You can always learn from your doctor or a nurse how to administer the injection at home. Do ask about which needles you need to use.

They are available from as small as a 27 gauge unit (0.42 mm), going up to 14 gauge (1.83 mm). They are further divided based on colours with different colours meaning different hole sizes. For instance, a blue needle (0.70 mm) is larger and used to smoothly suck from the medicine bottle.

Meanwhile, you need to use a smaller sized needle denoted in red and orange for inoculation to reduce pain and bruising the patient.

The visual aid helps make things clearer for medical practitioners who will be saving precious time when attaching the needle with the syringe.

Different Types Of Syringe Sizes

Syringes carry a label based on the amount of liquid they can hold and are further divided into small, medium, and large sizes.

Syringe Capacity Measurement

  • Millilitres (ml) for liquid volume

  • Cubic centimetres (cc) for the volume of solids (1 cc = 1 ml)

When injecting your medication at home, you need to choose a syringe that will hold the accurate dose of medicine as prescribed. For instance, if your doctor has prescribed only 3 cc in one dose, you may need to select a small syringe that holds the medicine properly. It also becomes easier for you to fill the syringe correctly with the appropriate syringe.

Similarly, if your prescription says to administer 10 cc in a shot, you need to use a large syringe that can hold up to 15 cc, so that you do not need to inject yourself twice to get the full dosage.

Different Types Of Needle Sizes

Apart from knowing about the different types of needles, you also need to know about the different labels to identify them better. On average, the label would read ‘22 G 1/2′ wherein 22 G stands for the gauge of the needle, while the 1/2 indicates the length of half an inch.

Do remember, the higher the gauge number, the thinner the needle will be.

Different Types Of Needle Gauge

different types of needles
different types of needles

You need to select the needle gauge based on the quantity of medicine that you need to administer. For small quantities of medicine, it makes sense to use a high-gauge, thin needle that will deliver the medicine faster and will be less painful.

However, in the case of high amounts of medicine, a wider needle with a lower gauge will be the apt choice. While it may be slightly more painful to use one, it will deliver the medicine faster to your body.

Different Needle Lengths

different types of needles
different types of needles

Image Source: Pexels

The needle length varies based on the patient’s age and also in which part of the body the medicine needs to be administered. For kids, a smaller needle should do the trick as opposed to a big one for adults.

Also remember that some medications absorb superficially, which is directly underneath the skin. In other cases, you inject the medicine deep into the muscle. The needle length will vary accordingly.

Subcutaneous Injections

There are also subcutaneous injections that inject into the fatty tissue right under the skin. In this case, the needle needs to be small and short with a gauge of 25 to 30 and needs to measure about one-half to five-eighths of an inch in length.

Intramuscular Injections

Doctors administer these injections into the muscle. This requires a thicker and longer needle with a gauge of 20 to 22 G. The length of these needles is about an inch or an inch-and-a-half.

The patient’s body fat density also makes a difference as you need to factor in how much the needle will have to travel beyond the skin to reach the muscle.

different types of needles
different types of needles

Image Source: Pexels

If you need to regularly inject yourself for medical reasons, it’s imperative that you learn about the different types of needles and syringes, as well as the varying lengths.

Make sure to speak to your doctor to learn how to correctly inject yourself or give it to someone at home. And always remember to dispose of the syringe and the needle in a safe and secure manner after every use.

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