3/20/2013 11:54:00 AM Proper disposal of diabetic syringes a local concern
Pictured above is a sharps container, the only container that allows for proper disposal of sharps such as needles and lancets commonly used by diabetics for daily testing and insulin injections. These sharps containers are available for purchase for just $5. When full, they can be dropped off at Veterans Memorial Hospital for free, proper disposal. Submitted photo.
A simple, inexpensive disposal program for used needles, such as insulin syringes, was developed locally nearly 20 years ago and remains very useful and accessible yet today. Veterans Memorial Hospital, together with Hartig Drug, began this safe syringe disposal program to help with the proper disposal of these sharps for the safety of the community. This sharps container program is still available to all members of area communities. Sharps containers, pictured above, are protective plastic boxes that safely hold any infectious waste material. Sharps containers are available to anyone in the public for purchase for just $5 at Hartig Drug, an inexpensive means of proper disposal of syringes and lancets. Once a syringe or lancet has been placed into a sharps container, the protective sliding lid keeps any waste out of reach. The container will last a diabetic anywhere from six months to one year, depending on the frequency of the injections. Once full, these sharps containers then need to be properly disposed of. Veterans Memorial Hospital welcomes all full sharps containers to be returned to their facility for proper disposal through their contracted infectious waste disposal company. The containers and their contents are then incinerated and taken to a special landfill where they are no longer a hazard to the environment or to the general public. Veterans Memorial Hospital pays for this service, however, there is no cost to anyone in the community who drops off their sharps containers at the hospital for proper disposal. Veterans Memorial Hospital requests that only sharps containers be dropped off. Any other types of containers, such as milk jugs, allow the needles to poke through, increasing the risk of a needle stick to all of the persons handling these containers. Infectious waste is defined as any liquid or semi-liquid blood, contaminated items that may release blood if compressed, items caked with dry blood, or other potentially infectious material. Such other potentially infectious material includes, but is not limited to, semen, vaginal secretions, saliva in dental procedures, and other internal body fluids that may have been in contact with blood. With the growing number of diabetics all over the country, there is a concern that the needles and lancets used for control of diabetes are not properly disposed of. Certainly not all diabetic syringes, lancets or other blood soiled material is infectious, but the potential remains. Veterans Memorial Hospital is extremely cautious and responsible to properly dispose of all potentially infectious waste material. For more information, contact Machelle Bulman, RN, Infection Control and Education Coordinator at Veterans Memorial Hospital at 563-568-3411.
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