While seeing patients, someone asked me this and I was a little taken aback.
I realize we don’t really spend time talking to patients about how to manage the needles and lancets injection pens, infusion supplies etc., when in fact Endocrinology is such a subspecialty, where we use injectables so often and for so many diseases, such as dyslipidemia and osteoporosis, not just diabetes.
Sharps is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. That includes needles, lancets, infusion sets, autoinjectors or prefilled pens, and also includes syringes.
Sharps should always be disposed in a Sharps container and not in regular trash. You can either purchase puncture proof Sharps container or make one out of opaque puncture proof plastic containers such as detergent cans. Putting your sharps in regular trash can cause accidental injury to sanitation workers as well as family members during taking out trash.
Where to dispose of Sharps container can be a little tricky. Palm Beach County runs a depository program where full sharps containers can be exchanged for empty containers. These locations are in Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Belle Glade, Lantana and Delray Beach. Exact addresses for the locations can be found SWA.ORG website.
Alternatively, the Sharps containers are accepted some of the fire stations locally and some of the injectable medications you use, also run return programs where used pens can be returned to manufacturing company with a free shipping label.
I highly encourage all patients using sharps, to do their part and dispose off their medical waste appropriately, according to county specific requirements.