Treatment of a needlestick injury
- December 17, 2013
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If you have a needlestick injury while at work or in any situation your first concern should always be the need to obtain correct and adequate treatment.
What to do:
- Don’t panic, the chances of infection are very slim and reduced even more so if the correct and appropriate treatment is obtained.
- Encourage bleeding from the puncture site but do not squeeze the wound excessively to make it bleed, wash with soap and running water, do not scrub the area. Do not suck the wound.
- You should go immediately to your nearest accident and emergency department, or, if the accident occurs at work to your in-house occupational health service; do not delay as urgent assessment and treatment may be required.
- Report the incident to your manager and fill out your works accident book or complete a critical event audit if there is one in place but do not delay in going to hospital; reports can always be completed later.
What information will I need to give?
Always try to take the offending sharp with you together with any information available concerning the donor, that is the person on who the needles was used
When you attend for treatment and assessment you may be asked for all or some of the following information:
- Is it a deep or surface puncture
- If the puncture was caused by a needle, what gauge was the needle
- Was the needle solid (suturing) or hollow
- Could you see blood or bloody material on the surface of the needle or scalpel
- Was the device previously in contact with patient’s body fluids
- If blood was injected into you, how much?
- Were you wearing protective gloves?
You may also be asked for information and details of any medical conditions, medications and allergies to you may have.
There may be enquiries as to whether you have you had previous exposure to HIV and if so, when and what circumstances, are you pregnant, breast-feeding, sexually active?
Always give full and honest answers so that you can get the best treatment.
Author: Mike Massen