Over three billion sharps are consumed in the United States every year. People with diabetes are using auto injectors to self-inject medication under their skin. They use lancets to prick their finger to obtain droplets of blood for testing purposes. The proliferation of sharps in the past ten years is astounding!
Types of Sharps
1. Sharps include the hollow needle that can inject medication under the skin.
2. Auto Injectors are hollow needles filled with medicine in the pharmacy to allow for self-injection into the body.
3. Syringes are hollow needles that can inject medicine into the body and can also be used to withdraw fluids from the body.
4. Lancets are short, two bladed sharps used to prick the finger to obtain droplets of blood for testing.
Medical Waste Disposal Crisis in the United States
Used sharps are thrown into the trash or flushed down the toilet, endangering sanitary workers, housekeepers, and are also being sold on the black market. Auto injectors are used only once, causing a large number of harmful needles in the trash.
Critical Education for Diabetic Users
Safe needle disposal does not include using the trash or the toilet to dispose of used sharps. Nor is putting them in a plastic bottle a solution.
Bright Red Containers to the Rescue!
Sharps containers are made with sturdy plastic and display the Hazardous Medical Waste symbol. The sharps are inserted into the one-way stopper of the container. The needle user can use this in their home, at work or during travel. Visit Sharps Assure for more information.
Two Safe Disposal Methods for Sharp Containers
1. Return the full container to the clinic or pharmacy where you received your medication. Be sure you ask in advance if they provide this service.
2. Mail the full container to a central location for nationwide collection of medical waste or to a lab that provides this service. This method uses a pre-paid mailing label, which includes the address of the medical waste collection center. This method of safe needle disposal is as convenient as the nearest mailbox.
Sharps disposal using the U.S. Mail is the easiest way to eliminate medical waste in America today.
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