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Needlestick injuries, part 2

May 25 2009
Illustrations by Alex Barrow Illustrations by Alex Barrow
What to do if you are ‘stuck‘ by a needle Last month in these pages I covered the prevention of needlestick injuries by being vigilant. This month I look at what to do if you are 'stuck' by a needle. Firstly, don't panic. Secondly, follow these simple steps. No 1: Bleed the wound Bleed the wound by squeezing the area around it. No 2: Wash the wound Wash the wound and area around it with soapy water. If no soap is available, put the wound under a running tap. No 3: Seek medical help As soon as possible go to your doctor, a walk-in clinic or Accident and Emergency (A&E). No 4: Check the needle's history If possible, check with the person who used the needle before the accident, and ask if they know their Hep A, B, C and HIV status. Ideally ... No 5: Take the person along ...ask the previous user of the needle to accompany you to the doctor or A&E. If they can also give blood, it'll help the lab staff check for risk of transmission, type and amount of virus, and for any resistance to treatment.