As people flock to get their yearly flu shots, it’s up to facilities who administer them to employ a compliant and safe sharps disposal plan.

While the seasonal flu can fluctuate year round, the CDC states that flu season can begin as early as October and continue into as late as May.  With flu season underway, many are headed to receive their annual flu shot.  For those who administer vaccines, it’s time to think about a medical waste management solution for those used needles and sharps.

Getting your flu shot is a lot easier than before, as the availability of this vaccine is more widespread; pharmacies now offer various immunizations, which are administered by trained healthcare providers.  Pharmacists in all 50 states can, and do, immunize patients.

With vaccine administration comes sharps waste.  Sharps is actually the medical term for a sharp-pointed object that can cut or puncture the skin, and this includes needles, syringes, lancets, auto-injectors, and connection needles, which includes the needle that carries the yearly flu shot.  The safety of sharps administration and disposal rely on basic principles, including:

  • Avoiding contact with blood and body fluids
  • Limiting the spread of blood and body fluid contamination
  • Making objects safe for use

Once a flu shot is administered to a patient, the provider must dispose of the sharp in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. According to the FDA, sharps disposal guidelines state:

  • Used sharps can only be disposed of in a sharps container
  • Sharps containers may be supplied by companies such as Red Bags
  • Sharps containers must be rigid, puncture-proof, and have lids that seal securely

These laws apply to any facility that uses sharps and administers the yearly flu vaccine, including pharmacies.

A sharps management plan is a proactive service to help healthcare facilities and retail pharmacies improve environmental and employee safety during flu season.

Want to learn more? Follow Red Bags’ blog to be up to date on the latest happenings in the medical waste industry.

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