Needle Stick Injury First Aid

A needle stick injury occurs when the skin is accidentally punctured by a used needle. Blood-borne diseases that could be transmitted by such an injury include Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

What to do

  • Wash with soap and water
  • Alternatively use alcohol-based hand rub
  • If you are at work, notify your supervisor or workplace health and safety officer – fill out an incident report form
  • Go straight to your doctor or hospital emergency department

First aid

first aid for needle stick injuries

If a needle stick injury occurs, seek medical advice. If you are at work, notify your supervisor or WHS officer. In many cases, treatment of the needle mark and counselling is all that is needed. You should receive support together with advice on the possible need for HIV and/or Hepatitis B/C testing, counselling, Hepatitis B and Tetanus vaccination and medication. Remember that the risk of catching a serious infection as a result of an accidental needle stick injury is very low.

Where to get help

  • A doctor
  • A workplace health and safety officer
  • An infectious diseases physician
  • An infectious diseases registrar at a hospital

Ways of reducing the risk of needle stick injuries

  • Workers who may come in contact with blood or body fluids should be vaccinated
  • Follow all safety procedures in the workplace
  • Minimise your use of needles
  • Remember that latex gloves don’t protect you against needle stick injuries
  • Don’t bend or snap used needles
  • Never re-cap a used needle
  • Follow safety precautions and procedures for disposing of needles
  • Place used needles into a clearly labelled and puncture-proof sharps approved container

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