Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Evaluation Treatment

Needle Stick Overview

Another name for Needle Stick is Occupational Exposure.

What is an occupational exposure?
A person with an occupational exposure has been exposed to infected blood or body fluids, caused by an accidental needle stick or splash. Occupational exposures are most common in medical personnel, rescue personnel, and police. The goal of evaluation and treatment is to reduce the risk of HIV and hepatitis infections.

What are the symptoms of an occupational exposure?
The symptoms of an occupational exposure depend on the type of exposure. Symptoms of an occupational exposure cause by a needle stick may include exposure include localized pain, bleeding, or a rash.

How does the doctor treat an occupational exposure?
The treatment of an occupational exposure depends on the type of exposure. In some cases of occupational exposure, antibiotics, immune globulin, and antiviral medications may be used to reduce the risk for infection.

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Last Updated: Aug 28, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Needle Stick References
  1. Health problems and the use of health services among physicians: a review article with particular emphasis on Norwegian studies. Ind Health. 2007 Oct;45(5):599-610. [18057803]
  2. Rapparini C. Occupational HIV infection among health care workers exposed to blood and body fluids in Brazil. Am J Infect Control. 2006 May;34(4):237-40. [16679183]
  3. Wilburn SQ. Needlestick and sharps injury prevention. Online J Issues Nurs. 2004 Sep 30;9(3):5. [15482091]
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