OPINION

Health and Wellness: Dispose of sharps properly

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department

Sharps is a medical term for small instruments with sharp points used to puncture or cut skin. They are used at home, at work and while traveling to manage medical conditions of people or their pets for allergies, diabetes, hepatitis, etc.

Used needles and other sharps are dangerous if not disposed of properly. They can injure people and spread infections. Never drop needles or other sharps in a wastebasket; this includes needles used to administer medicine to pets. If your skin is accidentally punctured or scratched by a used sharp, you could get one of the most common infections: Hepatitis B or C, or the human immunodeficiency virus.

Ted Trewin, Dallas County Health Department environmental health administrator, reminds residents that sharps sealed in puncture-proof containers may be dropped off at the Dallas County Health Department. This sharps program is for individuals living in Dallas County, not for schools or businesses. Funding for the program comes from the department’s rural basic fund.  Rural residents pay into this fund. Schools, clinics or businesses may utilize the Metro Waste Authority sharps recycling program; contact at 515-244-0021.

Contact Ted Trewin at 515-993-5803 or ted.trewin@dallascountyiowa.gov with questions about sharps disposal.