How to Give a Vitamin B12 Injection Safely

If you’ve been asked to help a friend or family member with how to give a vitamin b12 & b6 injection safely, then don’t worry. There are some key tips and points to familiarize yourself with, but once you’ve got them under your belt giving the injection should be trouble free.

Why do we need vitamin B12  & B6 injections?

Vitamin B12 is a large molecule stored in muscles, and is obtained primarily though dairy and animal products. Some people have problems absorbing vitamin b12. Sometimes this is a genetic issue, some people have a gene that prevents them from making the right molecules needed for absorption, but in other cases people lost the ability to absorb B12 with age. Lack of B12 causes various problems including pernicious anemia. In order for these people to get B12 back into their systems, an intranasal spray or intramuscular injection may be prescribed.

B6 is another important vitamin, essential for healthy skin and bones. Generally, B6 can be absorbed with water and so can be taken in tablet form, but there may be occasions when a doctor feels that an injection, designed to boost levels quickly, will be more effective. There are also weight loss programs that advocate use of a B6 injection, and these can be safe if used in the right way, ensure that you have the advice and support of a medical professional before embarking on any such program.

What’s special about B12 and B6 injections?

These injections need to be given intramuscularly (IM) rather than subcutaneously. This means that the injection needs to go directly into the muscle, rather than just below the skin as say an allergy shot. The needles are therefore usually longer and bigger, and getting the technique of the injection right is important.

The injections need to be given into a large muscle, so the site of the injection is important. Ask your healthcare professional for advice on where the best site it, generally either the thigh, upper arm (at the back) or the bottom.

Giving the Injection Safely

1) Hygiene:  As with any injection, cleanliness, sterility and hygiene are very important. Make sure that you wash your hands before administering any injection, and clean the site of the injection with an antiseptic wipe.

2) Once your needle is ready, pull the skin taunt where it was cleaned. Use your strongest hand to hold the needle, and aim the needle at the cleansed area. Inject with a quick motion, like throwing a dart and plunge the needle directly into the muscle.

3) Pull your syringe back slightly and check to make sure that there isn’t any blood. If there is blood then you’ve hit the wrong place and it is important to withdraw the needle and start again, on a clean site and with a different needle. As long as there is no blood, push down on the plunger until all of the b12 or b6 has been transferred into the muscle.

4) Withdraw the needle quickly, and apply a little pressure to the site with a clean piece of cotton wool with a little alcohol. After a minute or so remove the cotton wool, and if needs be apply a plaster to the site to stop any blood.

By taking the time to learn how to give a vitamin B12 & B6 injection safely you’ll feel more confident administering the injection, and therefore be a lot less likely to make a mistake.

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