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Advice please from anyone with medical background - re infection from discarded needles

(32 Posts)
noonar Mon 22-Sep-08 20:28:40

my 6 yo dd picked up a discarded needle on her way home from school. at the time i was certain that she had not been injured as there were no marks on her skin and she said that she'd not felt anything sharp or painful. i decided that it would have been neurotic to seek medical advice, so just spoke to my bro, who has some medical training, and , as a young gay man, has more knowledge than many about how HIV is transmitted.

anyway, have just put dd to bed and she's still worried about the needle episode. i'm still feeling a bit unsettled by it myself, tbh, and my anxiety about it has increased slightly, this evening.

what i'd really like to know in order to put my mind at rest is...firstly, would there be a very obvious wound if her skin had been punctured by the needle. secondly, as the blood inside the plastic bit of the syringe had dried, would that mean that any hiv virus present would have been there too long to have still been live?


avenanap Mon 22-Sep-08 20:31:55

She would have felt it if she had pricked herself, there would also be a very tiny wound. If the blood inside was dry then the virus would have no medium to grow, they need moisture, warmth and food, just like bacteria. I would say that it would only survive a matter of hours but I may be wrong here.

noonar Mon 22-Sep-08 20:34:48


noonar Mon 22-Sep-08 20:48:22

any other advice/ info?

RubySlippers Mon 22-Sep-08 20:49:50

could you call NHS Direct?

and another bump for you ....

babblington Mon 22-Sep-08 20:49:52

I would ring NHS Direct to be honest, just to be on the safe side. But then I'm prone to panic!

geraldinetheluckygoat Mon 22-Sep-08 20:53:04

gosh what a worry for you, I have no helpful advice myself Im afraid, but I would have thought that your dd would definitely know about it if she'd pricked herself with the needle. I second the adivce to speak to nhs direct or visit doctors, it will probably put your mind at rest sad

carmenelectra Mon 22-Sep-08 20:53:20

If she had pricked herself then you would need to go to go to A&E do she could have bloods taken. If no sharps injury and just dried blood, no puncture to her skin, then there is no way she could have caught anything

noonar Mon 22-Sep-08 20:54:01

well i am a panicker too, which is why i didnt ring them. as i felt certain at the time that her skin had not been broken. now its the evening and i'm having 'what if' scenarios played out in my what if it pricked her without her noticing hmm

carmenelectra Mon 22-Sep-08 20:54:30

She would have bled if she had punctured her skin so i think iit would be quite obvious

noonar Mon 22-Sep-08 20:56:51

thanks all. carmen, thats what i thought too, which is wht we didnt go to dr. if i'd turne up saying my daughter touched a syringe, they'd think i was over reacting hugely.i tend to worry about health issues and i really wanted not to react in panic.

CryingMyselfToSleep Mon 22-Sep-08 20:58:55

As others say it is unlikely if she hasn't wo unded herself.

I would take her to get checked tomorrow...just to be sure. I don't think they would detect HIV for a few months, but someone at work suffered a needlestick injury and I think they had a blood test taken at the time which gives a baseline...which is followed up at a later date.

I also think that there are drugs which can be given immediately after a potential infection to reduce chances of infection if there is a suspected risk...However this last sentence is based upon my casulaty viewing rather than medical fact.


noonar Mon 22-Sep-08 20:59:45

if i ring nhs direct they'll want me to go into dds bedroom, turn on the lights and closely inspect her hands! dd is already in a state about it cos of my reaction when it happened blush i dont feel that that would be the right course of action tonight, tbh.

i think that logically i know she's ok. but i am anxious about it.

noonar Mon 22-Sep-08 21:02:03

thanks crying.

i just read on a website that aids virus survival time outside the body can be measured in minutes- ie wouldnt survive long on a needle. good news. cant do links but will try to find it again.

carmenelectra Mon 22-Sep-08 21:10:57

Crying is right, thats what would be done. I work in a hospital and thats the procedure if we have a needlestick injury. You would have known, she would have felt the sharp prick and her finger would have bled.

LurkerOfTheUniverse Mon 22-Sep-08 21:11:11

I've had a needlestick injury, let me tell you it does hurt! If she had pricked herself, she would have yelled!

it would probably be wise to mention it to the GP, but the HIV virus can't survive outside the body for any significant amount of time

the risk is minimal, so don't worry

noonar Mon 22-Sep-08 21:18:22

ok thanks. done a bit more googling and am sure she'll be ok as the blood was dry and she picked it up by the plastic end, as far as i know.

re mentioning it to the dr- surely i need to act now or not at all?? this isnt something i would mention casually at our next appt...

CryingMyselfToSleep Mon 22-Sep-08 21:19:16

I think that it could still be worth peace of mind to follow it up with GP/NHS direct though.

It is not just HIV to be concerned about - although that is the main one...Hepatitis B is the other one that springs to mind.

If you do ring NHS direct, you can of course wander around the house to "inspect" her hand....they don't have webcams...unless they have upgraded their service they won't know you aren't checking as you speak

carmenelectra Mon 22-Sep-08 21:21:53

Yes act now or not at all. If she wasnt hurt by the needle though i think having blood tests would be uneccessary for your dd, after all they do hurt and the risks would be miniscule

CryingMyselfToSleep Mon 22-Sep-08 21:21:53

In acting "now" I think tomorrow/this week will be fine...but I would do it specifically rather than adding it on to an appointment in 3m time....

carmenelectra Mon 22-Sep-08 21:21:55

Yes act now or not at all. If she wasnt hurt by the needle though i think having blood tests would be uneccessary for your dd, after all they do hurt and the risks would be miniscule

LurkerOfTheUniverse Mon 22-Sep-08 21:22:11

well, i would speak to my dr over the phone, but i don't know what your surgery is like

also give the council a bollocking, where was the needle?

carmenelectra Mon 22-Sep-08 21:22:31

Yes act now or not at all. If she wasnt hurt by the needle though i think having blood tests would be uneccessary for your dd, after all they do hurt and the risks would be miniscule

LurkerOfTheUniverse Mon 22-Sep-08 21:26:31

yes, that is why certain lab techs have the Hep B jabs, it is viable outside the body (for a couple of weeks iirc)

Chandra Mon 22-Sep-08 21:29:46

Don't ring NHS direct, don't go to A&E. Go to your GP and explain what happened.

The reason for which I am suggesting this is that it is not an emergency (NHS direct will tell you to go to yout GP). A&E could probably not update your file so your gp could be aware in case of any complication. So the GP is the person you need.

They may check for Hepatitis B more than anything else.

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