Most Needlesticks and Sharps Injuries affect nurses and doctors. However, some injuries affect those who are not medical professionals. It’s important to always stay safe when there are needles, scalpels, or blades around.
A child may try to reach into an overfilled sharps box to pick up a shiny needle. A groundskeeper in a park may be pricked by a needle left on the ground. A police officer or a corrections officer may be injured by someone with a bloody needle or knife. Someone else may worry about their risk because their spouse is a nurse who has had a needlestick. Similar exposures can occur in the home with razors, blades, and even a needle used for a splinter. This can also happen, in rare cases, if a tattoo parlor or a nail salon does not follow necessary safety regulations. There are lots of ways that these sorts of injuries can affect all of us, so seek medical advice if there’s any concern for exposure.
In some places, health facilities are not in line with Infection Prevention and Control. This is one reason for the spread of Hepatitis C worldwide. There are times when needles are reused. Sometimes IV fluids or IV tubing are reused. Other times reusable devices are not fully decontaminated between usages. In other cases, needles are used after patient use to obtain more medications from a shared reusable medicine container. Reuse of needles in any form after use in a patient can lead to spreading infections.