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How to Prevent Needle Stick Injury

People who work in the hospital including health care professionals like doctors are always at a serious risk of experiencing medical sharps injuries. This may occur from cannulas, needles, scales, sticks and other tools. 

Also known as the needle stick injury, it occurs when the skin gets punctured by a used needle accidentally. This may seem like a normal cut but can lead to several problems. Hence, it becomes important to prevent the needle stick injury from happening. 

Understanding Needle Stick Injury and Its Seriousness?

Needle Stick Injuries are unintentional puncture of the skin by a used needle. This is one of the most common accidents that happen, making it a common concern as well. Even the smallest skin lesion may indicate blood contact with a patient. 

As insignificant as they may seem, the consequences it can bring can be really serious as one may get exposed to bloodborne viruses. Such injuries can also have potential long-term health effects where infectious diseases may occur like Hepatitis B or C, HIV and others. 

In most cases, the wounds are easily taken care of. While in others, the situation may get worse with time. Regardless of the consequence, it is important to perform laboratory tests on the injured person regardless of their profession or role in the hospital. 

What Attributes to Increasing the Risks of Needle Stick Injuries?

It is undoubtedly not the intention of any person to be exposed to needle stick injury. However, there are certain habits or you can say carelessness that can lead to it. Some of these include the following 

  • Not using the sharps as they are directed or improper work practices 
  • Recapping needles 
  • Lack of access to personal protective equipment.
  • Not checking to see if staff members are receiving current training on proper disposal techniques.
  • Passing the sharps from one healthcare professional to another 
  • Moving bodily fluid from one container to another 
  • Not properly discarding the used needles in sharps containers that are specially designed to withstand punctures. 
  • Failing to verify that staff members received the necessary training on using safer sharps. 

What to Do If You Are Exposed to Needle Stick Injury? 

If you are exposed to a needle stick injury, then there is no need to freak out. There are a few things that you must follow right away including

 

  • Wash the wound immediately using soap and water. You can also use alcohol-based hand rubs for this step. 
  • Make sure to inform your safety officer at the health care facility. In this situation, you may be required to fill out an accident report form. This can help in conducting required tests and prevent the blood-borne virus from happening. 
  • Consult with the doctor as soon as possible. 

Make sure to inform the original user of the sharp equipment after the accident as soon as possible. This may help them to take preventative measures of any kind if needed. 

What are the Different Ways You Can Prevent Needle Stick Injuries? 

There are a few ways that you can prevent needle stick injuries from happening. These ways include the following 

  • Make Sure to Do Proper Disposal 

One of the best ways through which you can reduce the risk of needle stick injuries is by making sure to do proper disposal. It is important to ensure that the discarded needles and sharps are right away disposed of in approved sharps containers. 

The healthcare facilities should make sure that these sharp disposal bins are located conveniently and are easy to get access to. Some of these areas where you can keep them are laboratories, patient rooms, and treatment zones. Additionally, when disposing of them, remember to take a visual inspection to ensure that the sharps do not have any openings and are securely fastened.

  • Staff Education is Crucial 

It does not matter how many bins you install, without staff education nothing would work. When you carry out staff education, it helps to promote awareness. When the staff are offered the information and abilities needed to manage scenarios and hygiene measures, it helps in lowering the risks of needle stick injuries. 

Some of the aspects that can be taught during the training are handling the sharps in the right manner, creating an environment for open communication, refraining from recapping needles and more. 

  • Ensuring Conduct Reports 

It may not seem like an important thing to do but when it comes to proactively avoiding needle stick injuries, incident reporting is crucial. One must focus on documenting the needle stick injuries as they occur thoroughly especially if the sharp was contaminated with blood. 

When the incident reports are made, the healthcare professionals including safety officers may promptly address the workplace hazards. Possibly, they may even end up pointing out larger issues that could have caused a problem in the future.

  • Do Not Use Needles Unnecessarily 

Last but not least, it is important to make sure that you do not use the needles when not required. When using the needles, it is important to use the safety needles as they are designed to increase security and reduce the risk of such injuries. 

These needles frequently feature a mechanism that after usage either retracts or shields. It is safer for patients and other healthcare professionals when safe needles are used.

Time to Take Protective Measures to Prevent Needle Stick Injury 

As common as needle stick injury is, so is the prevention of it. If you think it is time to follow the preventative measures, then the first thing you can start with is getting sharps bins. These are specially designed containers in which all types of sharps including needles are discarded. And when wanting to purchase one, you can come to us. 

At MedGuard, we have sharps bins available from our own in-house and other popular brands. Having been approved by the medical standards, our equipment is of top-notch quality. Also, our items are available at highly affordable prices.

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