What Does "cc" Stand for in Medical Terms?

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In medical terms, the abbreviation "cc" most often refers to a cubic centimeter. However, intent is crucial as there is disambiguation, and cc can mean other things in medical language. It also has other meanings not related to medical jargon or abbreviations.

What Is a Cubic Centimeter?

A cubic centimeter (cc) is most often used when referring to medication dispensing. When you are dosing medication that has volume, such as with a medicine dropper syringe (or Pasteur pipette) or a needle syringe, 1 cc measures 1 centimeter (cm) around its edge, meaning that the volume is 1 cm around.

What Is a Cubic Centimeter Equal To?

One cc is always equal to 1 milliliter (mL). Therefore, if you are dosing medication and the directions say 1 mL, but your syringe reads in cc, you can rest assured that they are equal in volume. There is no difference between the two, and they are interchangeable.

What Are Other Meanings for cc in Medicine?

Intent is always important when trying to discern medical abbreviations. While "cc" may mean cubic centimeter, capital Cs, such as CC, can stand for other things, such as chief complaint, critical care, or complications. If you are reading a nurse or doctor's note, pay attention to whether the abbreviation is in lower-case letters or capital letters.

What Are Other Meanings for cc in General?

In general language, the term "cc" most often refers to a carbon copy in email. When you are addressing an email to more than one person, you can use the "cc" line to copy a second person in on the email. If you are sending to multiple recipients and you want to keep their email addresses private, you can use "bcc," which means blind carbon copy. Other examples of "cc," although they are expressed differently, are "Cc," which means cirrocumulus (a meteorology term). CC in capital letters can mean closed captioned or closed captioning, common carrier, community college, or country club.

What Are Other Medical Abbreviations for Dosages?

There are quite a few pharmaceutical and medical abbreviations for the dosing of medications, which not everyone may be familiar with. Some common ones include:

  • aa: of each
  • ac: before meals
  • cr: cream
  • hs: before bedtime
  • IM: intramuscular
  • inf: infusion
  • inj: injection
  • mane: in the morning
  • bid: twice a day
  • PO: by mouth
  • PRN: as needed

While you may not need to be familiar with these terms to dispense medication to yourself or another person, they can be helpful when reading your doctor's prescriptions.

How to Dispense Liquid Medication

If you are dispensing medication to a child, or some other type of liquid medication, you most likely have a small cup to dispense or a liquid syringe. Sometimes, the syringe may be in mL and not cc, so it's helpful to know equalities between liquids. Keep in mind that 1/2 teaspoon is equivalent to 2.5 mL (or 2.5 cc), 1 teaspoon equals 5 mL (or 5 cc), and 1 tablespoon is equal to 3 teaspoons, or 15 mL (15 cc). It's important to calculate dosages correctly. Put the syringe into the liquid, pull the plunger back, and then push the plunger into the patient's mouth to dispense the medication. If using a small cup, have the patient drink the liquid from the cup.