full single use syringe on a black background
Dec
21
2018

Needlestick and Sharps Injuries – The importance of quick treatment:

If you have been injured by a needle or sharp, you should always seek medical treatment straight away. In this article we discuss what to do if you have suffered an injury, and why these injuries can be life changing.

What is a needlestick or sharps injury?

A needlestick injury is an injury from a needle which has already been used. For example, in a medical procedure or to inject illegal drugs. A sharps injury includes other used medical supplies i.e. syringes, scalpels, lancets and glass from broken equipment.

Why are these injuries so dangerous?

This type of injury can seem fairly innocuous at first glance. For example, if a used needle punctures your skin you may only experience a small amount of immediate pain and bleeding.

However, these injuries can be very serious in the long term. This is because you can potentially contract over 20 different diseases from a used needle or sharp. Once someone has used a needle, viruses in their blood such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV can contaminate it. If you are then subsequently injured by the object then you could catch the disease it has been contaminated with.

These injuries are particularly devastating if they have happened because your employer has put you in danger. For example, by not providing you with the right equipment or failing to dispose of the needle/sharp correctly. If this is the case, we can help you to make a claim for compensation against the negligent party.

What should you do if you injure yourself with a used needle or sharp?

According the NHS website, if you pierce or puncture your skin with a used needle you should immediately:
  • Encourage the wound to bleed;
  • Wash the wound using water and soap;
  • Dry the wound and cover it with a plaster or dressing.

You should then seek medical advice, as you may need treatment to reduce the chance of you getting an infection. Call 111 or visit your nearest A&E department.

You should never:
  • Suck the wound;
  • Scrub the wound.

Are you at increased risk of a needlestick injury?

People in certain jobs are at an increased risk of getting a needle or sharps injury because of their job. For example:

  • Medical professionals;
  • Police;
  • Prison and probation services;
  • Tattooists and Piercers;
  • Building and demolition workers;
  • Cleaners or waste disposal team members.

How can we help?

If you have suffered from a needlestick or sharps injury you may be able to claim compensation. Contact us for free advice today by calling 0800 025 0000. You can also see how much your claim could be worth by using our claimometer here.

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