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Needles and Other Sharps

What are sharps?

“Sharps” is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. Such devices as needles, syringes, lancets (fingersticks), auto injectors, infusion sets, connection needles/ sets, and any other sharps, should be disposed of in an approved sharps disposal container.

Importance of Safe Sharps Disposal

Used needles and other sharps are dangerous to people and pets if not disposed of safely. Unsafe sharps disposal could cause Injury and the spread of infections.

Safe sharps disposal is important whether you are at home, at work, at school, or in any public place.

Never place loose needles and other sharps in the household or public trash cans or recycling bins, and never flush them down the toilet.

Pet owners who use needles to give medicine to their pets should follow the same sharps disposal guidelines used for humans.

Sharps must be placed in a puncture proof and leak-resistant container before being placed in the garbage. (Never place sharps containers in with recycling)

Where can I get a sharps disposal container?

You can get a sharps disposal container at most medical supply stores and pharmacies. Some pharmacies offer a sharps disposal and sharps disposal containers free of charge.

*Note: Please check with your local pharmacy on their policy for sharps containers.

Alternative Sharps Disposal Containers

If an approved sharps container is not available, a heavy-duty plastic household container (such as a plastic laundry detergent bottle) is a good alternative. The container should be leak-resistant, have a tight fitting puncture-resistant lid, remain upright during use and be properly labeled to warn of hazardous waste inside.

What to Do If You Are Accidently Stuck By a Used Needle or Other Sharp

If you are accidently stuck by another person’s used needle or other sharp:

  • Wash the exposed area right away with water and soap or use a skin disinfectant (antiseptic) such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  • Seek immediate medical attention by calling your physician or local hospital.

Follow these same instructions if you get blood or other bodily fluids in your eyes, nose, mouth, or on your skin.

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