Anyone who uses a needle to inject should dispose of it safely. However, sometimes discarded needles are found in public areas. Safe disposal of needles saves others from getting hurt accidentally. Fortunately, the risk of being infected by an accidental needle stick is rare.
Safe Needle Disposal
If you find an improperly discarded needle, here’s how to dispose of it safely:
- stay calm
- don't try to replace the cap on needles
- don't snap, break or bend needles
- pick up needle with care, use work gloves if desired
- hold needle point away from you
- put needle in a metal or hard plastic container with a lid (i.e. product or drink bottle)
- replace cap on container securely and label it
- wash hands with soap and water
- drop off the sealed container
Other locations for drop-off and harm reduction supply distribution can be found at towardtheheart.com.
What to do if you are pricked by a needle
Getting poked by a needle can be scary. Fortunately, the risk of infection from an accidental needle stick is rare.
If someone is injured by a discarded needle, stay calm.
Take reasonable care and follow these steps:
- wash the injured area with soap and warm water as soon as possible
- apply an antiseptic and a clean bandage
- dispose of the needle safely
- visit your local emergency department or primary care provider, preferably within 24 hours
- call 8-1-1 for advice 24/7
For more information call the Communicable Disease program at Island Health (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.):
This page explains what to do if you find a syringe or a needle and focuses on safe sharps disposal.