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Possible needlestick
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Possible needlestick

Hello,
I am a police officer and a couple of days ago was dealing with some needles found on a drug user. I didnt notice any sharp pain or anything to indicate that I had been struck by the needle but after had sharp itching in my palm for a few seconds. I have not seen any puncture marks and there was no bleeding. The user states he does not have any illness but I have started to become paranoid that I may have been struck by the needle although it would have only been slightly.I was wearing latex gloves and had been for about an hour. Should I get tested or am I overreacting?
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

Based on the details that you have shared, it does not seem very likely that you had a needlestick injury. Even if the cause of your symptoms ("sharp itching") was a very small or slight puncture, the fact that you were wearing gloves and that your could not visualize a puncture are both encouraging.

What size needles were they?

The CDC guidelines for blood borne pathogen exposure provide very good recommendations on how to approach these types of injuries. The potential exposure scenario is considered to be low risk given the details that you shared--namely that you could not find evidence of a puncture wound.

In low risk or very low risk scenarios (with the source status "unknown as in your case), the CDC does not generally recommend testing or follow-up. If the source person is considered to be high risk for HIV or Hepatitis C AND there is evidence of a needlestick or mucous membrane exposure, then testing (and treatment) are recommended.

http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/faq/bloodborne_exposures.htm

~ Dr. Parks

This answer provided to you is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this Medhelp.org posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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