There are a variety of syringes available for administering medications. The size of the syringe selected should coincide with the amount of medication you need. For example, if you are only to measure .25 mL of any medication, you wouldn't want to choose a 10 mL syringe. Instead, you would want to use the 1 ml syringe as it allows you to measure the smallest amounts of a medication more accurately. So the size syringe is chosen based on the dose you need to administer. If the dose calls for 10 cc of a medication, that is the same as 10 mL as "cc" and "mL" are the same.
There are five common types of syringes available, including:
100 unit Insulin
Understanding the Different Parts of a Syringe
When learning how to read a syringe it is helpful to understand each of the different parts that makeup a syringe and their purpose.
If using a needle for an intramuscular injection, the adapter is where you screw the needle onto the syringe. If using an IV hub, the adapter will attach to the patient's IV to administer the medication.
This inner piece of the syringe will draw the medication up and then is used to inject it.
The barrel is where you will line up the top of the plunger to the amount of medication you need to administer. The scale is printed on the side of the barrel, and will either indicate milliliters or cubic centimeters, but they are the same. If administering insulin, you need a syringe that measures units.
How to Read a 100 Unit Insulin Syringe
With a 100-unit syringe, each line on the barrel measures 2 increments up to a total capacity of 100 units.
How to Read a 1 mL Syringe
On this syringe, each line measures in .01 increments until it reaches a total capacity of 1 mL. This syringe is the best choice for any dose 1 mL or under.
How to Read a 3 mL Syringe
On a 3 mL syringe, each line will measure .1 increments for a total capacity of 3 mL. This syringe is the best choice for any dose of 1 ml up to 3 mL.
How to Read a 5 mL Syringe
On a 5 mL syringe, the lines are measured in .2 increments until it reaches a total capacity of 5 mL.
How to Read a 10 mL Syringe
For larger doses, a 10 mL syringe is ideal. Each line measures .5 increments until a total capacity of 10 mL is reached.