Safe disposal of "sharps"

Submitted on Wednesday July 25th, 2012
hospice winston-salem

Home management of a chronic illness often requires the use of needles or lancets. You may need to give your family member shots. Or draw drops of blood for testing.

All these procedures involve the use of what are known as "sharps."

  • Needles, infusion sets, and other systems for giving drugs or withdrawing fluids.
  • "Fingerstick" instruments for getting drops of blood.
  • Insulin pens and other prefilled devices for drug injection.

The EPA estimates that every year more than 3 billion sharps are used in homes and other nonmedical settings.

A used sharp is a danger to people and pets. They can cause injury, creating an opportunity for infection. And they can spread diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV.

  • Never place loose sharps in a home or public wastebasket.
  • Never flush sharps down the toilet.