Everyone is concerned about getting a contagious disease,
hepatitis C, or
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), from a used
needle. Most people are not considered at high risk for these infections, even
if they accidentally come into contact with infected blood or body
Transmission of HIV from an accidental contact is extremely rare. The degree of risk depends on:
Protect yourself from accidental exposure by disposing of
sharp objects properly and wearing protective gloves. The hepatitis B vaccine
is safe and effective in preventing hepatitis B, so be sure to have current
The U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps if you have
any exposure to blood:
Call your doctor right away. In some cases, medicine to prevent infection may be
recommended and should be started right away.
June 6, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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