Immediate management

Following all needlestick injuries or exposures, regardless of whether the exposure is from a source known to be high risk, the following steps should be taken:

  • Wash the site liberally with soap and running water. Antiseptics or skin washes should not be used as their effect on local immunological defenses is not known and there is no evidence that they are more effective.
  • Puncture wounds should be encouraged to bleed freely but should not be sucked.
  • Any exposed mucous membranes should be irrigated liberally with water. In the case of conjunctivae this should be before and after the removal of contact lenses.