Did you know that more than 35 million people have diabetes? Assuming each of them uses insulin twice a day, that’s 70 million needles per day. When you add in the estimated 300,000 users who inject drugs, vaccines, and other uses for sharps, there are easily more than 100 million needles disposed of every day.
Sharps disposal is therefore a much more important issue than you might think! If all these needles aren’t disposed of correctly, they risk transmitting blood-borne illnesses and injuring other people.
If you want to learn more about how to dispose of needles and why proper disposal is important, read on!
Risks of Unsafe Disposal
If you get pricked by a used needle, you are at risk of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Even without these deadly viruses, used needles can cause serious and painful injury.
The most serious risk is HIV. Approximately 35% of AIDS infections are related to improper injection use.
Similarly, Hepatitis B infects almost 300,000 people every year, and can kill up to 6,000 of those infected. Hepatitis C is more dangerous, infecting 36,000 people every year and killing up to 10,000 of those infected.
Hepatitis B and HIV can’t be cured, but they can be treated and managed to avoid long-term effects. Newer treatments offer hope that Hepatitis C can be cured.
But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Dispose of your sharps properly and avoid these viruses altogether.
How to Dispose of Sharps
When you inject yourself with hormones, insulin, or any other substance, you need to use a clean needle. Never reuse needles or use a needle that someone else has already used.
It might seem economical to reuse needles, but it’s very dangerous and can cost you your life. Needles are getting more affordable every day, so stock up and never reuse your needles! Click here for more about how to get needles without breaking the bank.
Immediately after the injection, put the cap back on the needle and put it into a sharps container. Never overfill sharps containers, as this can increase your risk of getting pricked. When the container is 3/4 full, follow your local instructions for proper disposal of needles.
You may have to drop your needles off at a dropbox or at a hazardous waste collection site. Only dispose of your needles in these places.
How to Handle a Needlestick
If you are accidentally pricked by a used needle, immediately wash and disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol. Then, seek medical attention immediately. If you don’t seek treatment, your risk of contracting a blood-borne illness rises.
Always follow these steps, no matter how small the injury is.
Always Practice Safe Sharps Disposal
If you regularly use needles, it can be easy to get complacent about your sharps disposal routine. You might find yourself overfilling your sharps container, or leaving your needles out. Remember, the risks of improper disposal are extreme and it’s important to practice safe disposal every time.
With this article, you should know everything you need to know about sharps disposal, so keep it in mind moving forward! If you enjoyed learning about disposing of needles, check out our blog for more fascinating health and wellness articles!