What is a needlestick helpline?
The problem with a needlestick injury is it is so horribly scary. The psychological pain is infinitely worse than a needle prick, prolonged because the victim has to wait for test results, and the symptoms of HIV and other terrifying infections can take weeks to show up in the blood stream. What an awful form of torture to go through, not knowing how things are going to turn out. For this reason, the care of a victim is structured in a particular way. As much as immediate medical attention, the victim needs reassurance and advice.
Needlestick injury is also known as “sharps injury” meaning any wound caused by syringes, scalpels or knives. Workers at risk include medical staff, paramedics, tattooists and refuse and rubbish disposal workers, also cleaners in any environment.
What to do if you suffer a “sharps” injury
- Encourage the wound to bleed. Run the affected part under warm water and wash it with soap but do not scrub at it.
- Do not suck or rub the wound.
- After washing, cover it lightly with a dressing and seek professional help.
- Report the incident to your employer.
How are “sharps” injuries treated?
The sufferer is given a course of antiretroviral drugs immediately, and monitored, and given support and advice. These days relatively few victims of needlestick injury fall seriously ill, especially with the giant advances made in the treatment of HIV, but Hepatitis is also a fear and that too can be treated. If the victim’s immune system is good and they receive the right treatment fast, the chances of succumbing to a serious illness are much smaller than in previous decades.
Many organisations offer a needlestick helpline service
The Health and Safety Executive has useful information on its web site, and workers in high risk sectors may find their employer also offers information. There are many good training courses out there, which can be found on the net, to advise on cautionary measures, being aware and avoiding the danger in the first place. Training is focused equally on those who have to guard against needlestick injuries and those who use such implements and on their safe disposal. Commercial training companies will often attend the work place to give the training session.
If you have suffered a “sharps” injury
You can seek advice from the Accident Advice Helpline. In that sense we act as a needlestick helpline. You may have a valid compensation claim for a sharps injury if it happened at work. Our trained telephone advisors can answer your immediate questions about your claim. Call them on 0800 689 0500 or on 0333 500 0993 from your mobile.