There is much debate amongst the various diabetic online communities, as to whether or not it’s ok to reuse your syringes and lancets. I truly sympathize with diabetics that are seriously struggling financially, and can’t afford their supplies, however, it is not medically safe to reuse syringes. Our blood naturally has pathogens (disease causing bacteria); once a needle has been inserted in to the skin (for longer than a second or two) the needle is now considered a bio-hazard, and or contaminant. When ever possible, its important to use a brand new needle at all times. Reusing a needle is like using the bathroom without washing your hands.
Once the used needle is out of the skin & exposed to air, the contaminants grows and gets stronger. There are no white blood cells present to fight off those pathogens, therefore, if you reuse your needles, your potentially reinfecting yourself with stronger pathogens/bacteria, and the body has to work harder to fight them off.
Both syringes and pen needles have special anti-bacterial lubricants, that allows for a smoother and less painful entry. Reusing needles will eventually loose this special coding. Both needles will also eventually become dull and jagged at the tips. Once the tips are bent because of over use, you will potentially cause bruising, in addition to the infection that may be caused by the now overly contaminated needle.
In NYC, unfortunately, there are no official known procedures, as to how to dispose of your used diabetic supplies. If your @ work, it is my opinion (as a courtesy to others) that you store all your used test strips, lancets, and syringes in a coffee can, or one of these 99 cent hard plastic containers. Once container is full, tape up top securely and dispose by regular means, or you can give to your doctor and have him/her dispose of your medical waste. If your hanging out with some friends, another alternative, is to rap your used supplies in a napkin securely, and dispose of waste. Be respectful and mindful of non-diabetics; make sure all needles are covered bare minimum!! No one wants to worry about being stuck with with somebody Else’s needle.
Lancets are a little different. To my understanding, lancets are generally ok to reuse, because today’s lancet devices are so fast, that the needle has no contact with blood. However, keep in mind that like syringes, lancets do become dull, and can cause bruising. Try to change your lancets at least once a week. Also make sure that you are rotating ALL sites..
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