NWHU helping people stay safe during spring cleaning
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
As the snow begins to melt and community groups, workplaces, schools, and residents throughout the Sioux Lookout area begin their spring clean-up, the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) is reminding people what to do if they come across a discarded needle.
“Knowing how to safely dispose of a found needle is very important. Handling needles incorrectly can lead to needle poke injuries and potential infections,” stated Gillian Lunny, manager of sexual health and harm reduction at the NWHU. She continued, “We encourage parents, teachers and adults to remind children to never touch a needle and to tell an adult right away if one is found.”
The NWHU provided the following instructions for safe needle pick-up and disposal:
• If possible use gloves and tongs to pick up the needle.
• Never put the cap back on a needle.
• Place the needle in a hard-sided plastic container, tightly seal and label “Needle”.
• Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after picking up a needle.
• Return the needle to your local NWHU office.
• Never put needles down the toilet, in drains or in the garbage.
• Call your local NWHU office to pick-up needles safely if you cannot.
The NWHU advised this spring, “Public Health Nurses throughout the region will be distributing educational materials to workplaces, community partners, and schools about what to do if you find a needle.”
The NWHU Harm Reduction program is providing free resources, training and equipment to community members, organizations and workplaces to support safe needle disposal and minimize the risk of exposure to infections.
These services include providing:
• Mountable sharps containers,
• Workplace presentations, and
• Needle pick-up kits.
For more information, or to request a presentation, people can contact the NWHU office in Sioux Lookout at 737-2292.