If you pierce or puncture your skin with a used needle, follow this first aid advice immediately:
You should also seek urgent medical advice as you may need treatment to reduce the risk of getting an infection:
Injuries from needles used in medical procedures are sometimes called needle-stick or sharps injuries.
Sharps can include other medical supplies, such as syringes, scalpels and lancets, and glass from broken equipment.
Once someone has used a needle, viruses in their blood, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV, may contaminate it. This includes needles used to inject illegal drugs. Blood can also contaminate sharps.
For more information, see What infections can used needles or sharps pass on?
The healthcare professional treating you will assess the risks to your health and ask about your injury – for example, how and when it happened, or who had used the needle.
Samples of your blood may need to be tested for hepatitis B and C or HIV.
Your healthcare professional may also arrange to test samples of the other person's blood if they give their consent.
If your healthcare professional thinks you're at low risk of infection, you may not need any treatment.
If there's a higher risk of infection, you may need:
If there's a high risk of infection with HIV, your healthcare professional may consider treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
For more information, see Can PEP stop me getting HIV?
Your healthcare professional may recommend that you get:
If you injure yourself with a used needle at work, report the incident immediately to your supervisor or manager.
Read the answers to more questions about accidents, first aid and treatments.