Preventing Needlestick Injuries
Working as a health professional means exposure to various work-related injuries ranging from back pain to needle stick injuries. Nurses especially are always at the front liners since their responsibility is to administer medications intravenously after proper physician’s order.
There are numerous researches and surveys done in order to know the extent of this dilemma and th rough the results of the study steps were made in order to prevent incidences of needle stick injuries.
Needle stick injuries are small injuries or holes on the skin as a result of incidental contact of sharp pointed objects on the skin. The most common pricking object is a needle. Such injuries is not only limited on the tip of the fingers but as well as on the arms, foot, or any part of the body.
Needle stick injuries should not be taken for granted since used needles could have been used to inject people with blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis or HIV infection.
Since health workers are one of the people at risk of such injury, here are suggested simple steps in preventing needle stick injuries.
- Always observe universal standard precautions in handling sharps such as needles. Gloving or double gloving could be essential when withdrawing blood or other substances that may be suspected as pathogenic.
- Utilize a needle burner or needle cutter if it is available in the area.
- Perform recapping only when as needle burner or needle cutter is not available. Use the “scoop technique” in recapping the syringes. Scoop technique could be by using the needle to lift the safety cap from the flat surface and recapping it single handed way without any contact on the safety cap nor on the tip of the needle.
- Use a puncture resistant container in disposing needles and syringes. The container should have a solution formulated to disinfect all the needles and syringes to be disposed.
- Provide a separate container for each kind of shraps such as one for needles, scalpels and other sharps objects used in the hospital.
There are instances when such injury is unavoidable. The best way to contain the wounded area is to wash the wounded area thoroughly with antibacterial soap and running water. After this first aid, it would be better to rush to the nearest hospital in order to have the wound evaluated and proper actions can done after that.
Treatment could range from antibiotics, over-the-counter pain medications up to antiviral medications depending on the root cause of the injury.
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