When you think of home security, the proper disposal of needles probably doesn’t come immediately to mind. But when it comes to the safety of your home, family, and friends,  – sharp objects within the home can pose a medical emergency risk of injury and possible blood-borne illness. Disease from a number of microorganisms can all be delivered into a healthy body by way of a needle-stick. Some of the same care that apply to needles can also be applied to other sharp items such as scissors, razor blades, metal wire, pins, staples, scalpels and box cutters.

It’s Easier Than You Think to Stick Yourself With a Needle

One of the many benefits of monitored home security over non-monitored security technology is the instant response to household emergencies, such as those caused when needles are not properly disposed of. If you have a family member that must use needles as part of their ongoing medical treatment, then the proper disposal of those sharp instruments should be added to your home security checklist.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), accidental needle-stick injuries are not exclusive to medical offices and hospitals. So exactly how are people sticking themselves? 30% are pricked after use and before disposal, and 11% are injured during disposal related activities. Improper needle disposal made clear by this Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) statement:

Accidental punctures by contaminated needles can inject hazardous fluids into the body through the skin. There is potential for injection of hazardous drugs, but contact with infectious fluids, especially blood, is by far the greatest concern. Even small amounts of infectious fluid can spread certain diseases effectively.

Guidelines for Proper Needle Disposal

One of the best ways to detect if someone in the home (especially a child) has been stuck with a contaminated needle is with through a monitored security system that can retrace the activities leading up to the incident. Consider the relief knowing that the injury-causing needle had not been previously used and will pose little or no threat of further disease. Be mindful when disposing of needles at home by following the two-step FDA procedure for proper needle disposal:

  • Step One – Always place used needles in an appropriate disposal container designed for sharp instruments placed out of reach of pets and children. Remember to empty the container when it becomes three-quarters full to prevent accidental injury caused by overfilling the container.
  • Step Two – Know the disposal guidelines for sharp and/or contaminated needles for your community by discussing the pickup process with your local waste collector or health department. Often you can find a disposal unit at pharmacies,  hospitals, fire stations, or a community dropbox.

Other Safety Considerations for Needle Disposal

When disposing of your needles, make sure the container is properly labeled and the lid firmly secured. Used needles are considered a household contaminated waste product and care should always be the first consideration during use and disposal. Consider a mail-back program which charges a small fee to receive used FDA-approved needles for proper disposal. This is a good option for older adults where used needles can be collected and fresh needles delivered, as required.

If you do stick yourself with a needle, immediately wash the area with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub and go straight to a medical doctor or emergency room. If you need information concerning safe needle disposal, a national helpline can be reached calling 1-800-643-1643, or by email at safeneedledisposal@needymeds.org.

For your family’s safety, call for a free quote on monitored home security from Protect America.