What to Do After a Needlestick Injury

If you're like most people, you've been vaccinated against a variety of diseases at some point in your life. While getting vaccinations is one of the best ways to protect yourself against illness, it's not without its risks. If you get stuck with a contaminated needle after getting a vaccine, for example, there's no need to panic. However, it's important to act quickly and get tested so that your doctor can determine whether or not you have become infected with an illness from the puncture wound left behind by the contaminated needle. If so, treatment options will be discussed with you so that you can return to normal health as soon as possible!

Call your doctor immediately

If you have been stuck with a needle, call the doctor immediately. Do not wait to see if you get sick or develop symptoms of an infection. Do not try to remove the needle yourself, as this can cause additional injury and increase your risk of infection. You should also avoid administering first aid by yourself--do not apply pressure on top of or around where you were stuck; instead let medical professionals handle these steps when appropriate (e.g., if someone has sustained a deep puncture wound).

You should keep any contaminated clothing and objects away from other people until they can be properly disposed of (which will depend on where they were made). Additionally, if possible and feasible without further harming yourself or others nearby:

Get the name of the vaccine, if applicable, and keep the needle

  • Get the name of the vaccine, if applicable, and keep the needle.
  • If you don't know what vaccine was administered, get it from the person who gave it to you.
  • If you don't know the person who gave you the vaccine, ask your doctor. When calling them with this information prepare yourself with all of their contact information (name, phone number) as well as any details about where they worked or lived--including any room numbers or locations within buildings--that might help them identify if there is an outbreak nearby.
  • Make sure that everything checks out before disposing of anything; there may be other ways for people in close contact with infected needles/syringes (such as nurses) could have been exposed without knowing about it yet.

Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands thoroughly

  • Sanitize your hands with alcohol. Alcohol is a great way to kill germs, but it's important to use the right kind:
  • Use warm water, not hot or cold water. Hot or cold water may sting if you have cuts on your fingers from the needle stick injury; warm water will help soothe any pain while still being effective at removing germs from your skin.
  • Wash for at least 15 seconds--more if possible! This is especially important if someone else has already used the same sink as you; they could have left some nasty bacteria behind on their hands which would then get transferred onto yours when washing them off with soap and water later on down the line when everything else has dried off nicely into place again without any traces left behind except maybe some residual grease stains around certain areas where there was too much contact between skin surfaces during washing time leading up until now...

Use gauze to cover the wound, if possible

  • If possible, cover the wound with a clean piece of gauze.
  • Cover the wound with a bandage or dressing.
  • Cover the area with clean gloves or cloth so that no blood gets on your hands or clothing (this could infect someone else).
  • If you have access to an extra pair of scrubs or other clothes, put them on before leaving work to prevent contamination from getting onto your regular clothing and then going home where others might touch it later!

Use an alcohol wipe to clean around the puncture site and any surface it touched

After you have cleaned the wound with soap and water, you should use an alcohol wipe to clean around the puncture site and any surface it touched. Alcohol wipes kill germs on your skin and can remove them from surfaces as well. They are available in many places, including a pharmacy or grocery store near where you live or work.

Once you have removed all visible blood from yourself and your surroundings, it is important that you disinfect yourself so as not to spread any infection from one person to another! Alcohol-based hand sanitizer works well for this purpose; however, if there is no hand sanitizer available then simply wash your hands thoroughly with soap again before touching anything else (or if possible wear gloves).

If you have a needlestick injury, act fast by calling your doctor immediately and getting tested. You may also want to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, B, and tetanus if you haven't already.

  • Call your doctor right away. Your first step should be calling up whoever gave you the shot--whether it was an emergency room nurse or another medical professional--and asking them for their name so that when you call back later on in this list of steps, they'll know exactly who was responsible for giving them the injection (and therefore possibly exposing them). If possible, keep hold of whatever needle is used in case further testing is needed later on down the line; many states require employers who give employees vaccinations against Hepatitis B virus infection post-exposure prophylaxis within 24 hours after exposure occurs through the use of sharps containers which are then disposed of properly.


Needlestick injuries are serious, and they can lead to infection if not treated quickly. If you have been injured by a needle, act fast by calling your doctor and getting tested for Hepatitis B and C. You should also wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible after being stuck by a needle so that there is no chance of spreading any diseases or infections through contact with other people.


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