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Understanding How to Properly Dispose of "Sharps" | Diabetes Daily Post
Understanding How to Properly Dispose of ”Sharps”

How to Properly Dispose of ”Sharps”

sharpsPatients with diabetes may require the use of “sharps”. What this is referring to are devices that have sharp ends that are used to pierce the skin. Examples of sharps include insulin pen needles, insulin syringes, and lancets.

Sharps should not be thrown away like normal trash because it increases the chance of others being stuck by accident and the spreading of disease. Hepatitis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are spread through blood and if it is present on a sharp that is not disposed of properly it can transmit to others such as trash and sewage workers, cleaners and even your own household members.

There are a few extra precautions that must take place to ensure the proper disposal of sharps. The first step is to place all sharps in a sharps disposal container right after they have been used. A sharps disposal container can either be purchased or made from certain household items. Acceptable household containers include items made of strong plastic that are sealed or have a cap to prevent spills like a plastic liquid detergent bottle or a coffee can. Secondly, there are different programs to get rid of the full sharps disposal container depending on where you live. Generally the main disposal methods involve a drop box or supervised collection sites, mail-back programs, syringe exchange programs, and at-home needle destruction devices. For more information on disposal methods specific to your area, visit http://www.safeneedledisposal.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=57

In an event that someone is accidentally stuck by a used sharp there are simple guidelines to follow. First, it is important to thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water. In the case that soap and water are not present, it is also acceptable to use a disinfectant such as hand sanitizer. Subsequently, reach out for medical attention by calling your doctor or local hospital. Depending on the type of suspected infection, preventative therapy may be required to prevent the spread of the infection.

This article is brought to you by our guest writers:
Kim Ho, PharmD Candidate, 2015, MCPHS University
Jennifer Goldman-Levine, PharmD, CDE, BC-ADM, ‎FCCP
Professor of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy-Boston, MCPHS University
Clinical Pharmacist, Well Life Medical, Peabody, MA

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