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Can Diseases Be Transferred By Touching The Outside Of A Needle Box?

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Posted on Thu, 2 Nov 2017
Question: I took my baby to the ER and she touched the outside of the needle box where they dispose them. She then wnt ahead and put her hands in her mouth. No needles touched her. But i am very worried about transmission of a serious disease or anything that has touched the container as i know dirty needles go inside. Will she be ok or should i have her seen?
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (35 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Information

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

I can understand your concern. There is no need to worry about HIV because that virus lives on inanimate objects for only a very short time - a matter of seconds. Unless there was absolutely fresh blood on the outside of the sharps box, which I would not expect there to be, there is really no risk for HIV.

Other bacteria and viruses can live on inanimate objects for longer than HIV does, but I would not expect the outside of sharps boxes to be anymore contaminated than any other surface. The inside of the box is another story. But the outside, other than the part at the top that opens it, would not be especially dirty. When a nurse or doctor disposes of a needle, scalpel, swab, or other contaminated object, we open the box and place it inside. So I wouldn't expect it to be dirty like the outside of a garbage can might be where we might toss garbage rather than carefully placing it inside.

Unless your baby is an infant or has an impaired immune system, I think she should be fine.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (7 minutes later)
She is 6 months old and she did touch the part where they lift up to dispose. I should have verified this, my apologies
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (5 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
No worries

Detailed Answer:
Then I think she should be Ok. And no need to apologies, you really provided a pretty good description.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3134 Questions

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Can Diseases Be Transferred By Touching The Outside Of A Needle Box?

Brief Answer: Information Detailed Answer: Hello and welcome, I can understand your concern. There is no need to worry about HIV because that virus lives on inanimate objects for only a very short time - a matter of seconds. Unless there was absolutely fresh blood on the outside of the sharps box, which I would not expect there to be, there is really no risk for HIV. Other bacteria and viruses can live on inanimate objects for longer than HIV does, but I would not expect the outside of sharps boxes to be anymore contaminated than any other surface. The inside of the box is another story. But the outside, other than the part at the top that opens it, would not be especially dirty. When a nurse or doctor disposes of a needle, scalpel, swab, or other contaminated object, we open the box and place it inside. So I wouldn't expect it to be dirty like the outside of a garbage can might be where we might toss garbage rather than carefully placing it inside. Unless your baby is an infant or has an impaired immune system, I think she should be fine.