Needles and other "sharps" are widely used in the community, where they can pose a risk to others. All attempts should be made to prevent such injuries.


People who use sharps:

(1) diabetics

(2) patients performing self-injections

(3) patient's performing home testing

(4) injection drug users


People at risk for sharps injuries:

(1) family members, especially children

(2) garbage collectors

(3) emergency medical responders

(4) housecleaners


Loose sharps should not be

(1) thrown away in regular trash or recycling containers.

(2) left lying about

(3) flushed down a toilet or thrown into a sewer


A person who uses sharps should either purchase a sharps disposal container or use a container with similar features:

(1) sturdy

(2) puncture resistant

(3) leak-proof

(4) protected opening that keeps people from reaching in or items falling out

(5) tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid


The sharps container should be disposed of properly, not in the regular trash. This may involve taking the container to a hazardous waste site, a community health center or other location offering this as a service.


A person who receives a sharps injury in the community:

(1) should immediately clean the wound with soap and water

(2) seek medical attention for a possible exposure to an infectious disease


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