Needle stick injury

Ouch! What a prick...For a First Aider, exposure to hypodermic syringes is a risk. Understanding the procedure to deal with a needle stick injury is important.

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What is a needle stick injury?

If the skin is punctured by a sharp medical tool like a scalpel or needle on a syringe, it is called a ‘needlestick injury’.

Exposure to hypodermic syringes is a risk faced by First Aiders so an understanding of the procedures to deal with a needle stick injury is important.

How does needle stick injury happen?

Needlesticks don’t just happen in hospitals – stepping on a needle in park or on the beach is the same thing. Fortunately, infection by HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C in these situations is  rare.

According to the National Centre For Farmer Health, even farmers and agricultural workers experience preventable needlestick injuries. Every year, across Australia, 80% of livestock farmers reporting a needlestick injury at some time. This means the farmer may be injected with harmful chemicals.

Signs and Symptoms of needle stick injury

Victims of a needle stick injury usually feel a small, sharp pain at the needle stick point. The needle may stay in the finger, foot or wherever the injury occurred. A small drop of blood may appear.


The recommended action to take is:

  1. Wash the area gently with soap and running tap water as soon as possible. – If not, available you can use hand sanitiser

2. Apply an antiseptic and a clean dressing to the injury area

4. Seek prompt medical advice from your local doctor or hospital emergency department, preferably within 24 hours.

5. Dispose of the needle safely.- In an identified sharps container, or you could put the needle in an empty plastic water bottle for later disposal in a sharp’s container.


While it is unlikely that you will encounter a needle stick injury, it is possible.

If you do, remember:

•            Wash, clean and cover the injury

•            Seek medical aid within 24hrs

•            Dispose of the needle safely and correctly.

This was a very short Article Post. If you found this one interesting, you can check out more here –

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

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Adrian Webb

Adrian joined Life Saving First Aid in 2019 following a 30-year career with the Airport Fire and Rescue Service, where he responded to numerous first aid calls and dangerous or hazardous incidents, keeping the airport community safe.

Since joining Life Saving First Aid, he has delivered First Aid training to over 20,000 students. Many of them have used this training to save a life!

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