Safe Use and Disposal of Syringes and Sharps


How to Safely Use and Dispose Needles and Syringes Safely at Home, Work and Travel?

Sharps is the medical term for instruments with sharp points or edges that can pierce or cut through the skin. It can be used at home, at work and on the go to manage health conditions in people or their pets, including allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, infertility, migraines, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, blood clotting. disease and psoriasis. These needles and syringes require proper use and disposal for safety.

Infographics showing safe use of sharps

What are some examples are sharp needles and syringes?

Examples of sharp objects include:

    Needle: A hollow needle used to inject medication(s) under the skin

    Syringes: devices used to inject drugs into the body or remove fluid from the body

    Lancets: Lancets, also known as "fingerstick" devices - instruments with short, double-edged blades that are used to collect drops of blood for testing. Lancets are often used to treat diabetes.

Auto-injectors: Auto-injectors, including epinephrine and insulin pens: Syringes pre-filled with liquid medicine intended for self-injection into the body

    Infusion sets: Hose systems with needles used to administer drugs into the body. Connecting needles/sets - needles that connect the tubing used to transfer fluid in and out of the body. It is mainly used in hemodialysis patients at home.


How to throw Sharps?

Used sharps should be immediately placed in a sharps disposal container. FDA-approved sharps containers are usually available at pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online. 

These containers are made of shock-resistant plastic with burr-free sides and bottoms. They also have a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant cover.


Picture showing sharp disposal

If an FDA-approved container is not available, a durable plastic household container such as a laundry detergent container can be used as an alternative.

What is the importance of safe sharps disposal?

Used needles and other sharps are dangerous to people and pets if not disposed of safely, as they can harm people and spread infections that cause serious health problems.

The most common infections are:

  1.     Hepatitis B (HBV),
  2.     Hepatitis C (HCV) a
  3.     Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Safe disposal of sharps is important whether you are at home, work, school, traveling or other public places such as hotels, parks and restaurants. 

Do not dispose of loose needles and other sharps (that have not been placed in a sharps container) in household or public waste or garbage, or flush them down the toilet. This puts waste and sewer workers, janitors, housekeepers, household members and children at risk.


Infographics showing safe sharp disposal methods

Pet owners who use needles to administer medication to their pets should follow the same guidelines for disposing of sharps used for humans.

What to do if you accidentally stick a used needle or other sharp object?

If you are accidentally pricked by someone's used needle or other sharp object:

  1.     Wash the affected area immediately with soap and water or a skin disinfectant (antiseptic) such as alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  2.     Seek immediate medical attention by calling your doctor or local hospital. Follow the same instructions if you get blood or other body fluids in your eyes, nose, mouth, or skin.

Refer Also|: Syringes and Needles FAQ

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