can you use a sewing needle for stick and poke

needle sticks

Needle sticks present one of the most common occupational injuries associated with swine production, especially in the farrowing and transition area. In 2011, a literature review and survey of farm-related personnel who had been hospitalized for accidental needle sticks was conducted. It was determined that annually 80% of the producers and workers had experienced an unintentional puncture. Needle sticks pose a risk for the following reasons:

1. The needle is most likely contaminated because they are multiple uses and are contaminated with germs from the environment, from the previously treated pig, or microorganisms present on the worker’s own skin.

2. The needle itself can cause tissue damage, as some are large, and may be blunt and somewhat chipped after being used several times (figure 1). Injections with heavily used needles create a much higher risk of injury and infection.

Figure 1: Photos of hypodermic needles showing how they become blunt and chip.
Figure 1: Photos of hypodermic needles showing how they become blunt and chip.

3. The contents of the syringe may cause harm if inoculated. Vaccines are the most common cause of a reaction. It may be a live vaccine (such as some erysipelas vaccines) that can cause the disease in the victim. Or it may contain an adjuvant that can cause very severe reactions, especially those containing mineral oil.

Accidental inoculations in women with oxytocin or prostaglandins have caused abortions (pregnant women should not handle either of these drugs in my opinion). Accidental inoculation with the antibiotic Tilmicosin can cause fatal heart problems (this drug is not used in injectable form in pigs but in ruminants).

We investigated nine livestock producers hospitalized for accidental needle sticks. All of them with vaccine inoculation. The most common location of the puncture was the non-dominant hand. Injections in the hand may need urgent attention as swelling and infection can cut off blood flow as well as affect the nerves in the area resulting in loss of skin or even fingers (figure 2).

Figure 2: This producer was injected  He accidentally touched his finger with a vaccine that contained an oily adjuvant.  Did not request  Immediate medical attention was required and the finger had to be amputated as the blood supply and innervation were affected by the inflammation.  Figure 3: Accidental vaccine injection.  The leg had to be operated on to remove the damaged tissue and remove the vaccine and adjuvant.
Figure 2: This producer accidentally injected his finger with a vaccine containing an oil adjuvant. He did not seek immediate medical attention and the finger had to be amputated as the blood supply and innervation were affected by the inflammation. Figure 3: Accidental vaccine injection. The leg had to be operated on to remove damaged tissue and remove the vaccine and adjuvant.

Six people were hospitalized for several days. Four required surgery to drain the wound and remove damaged and infected tissue (Figure 3). One had a bone infection, and one person needed hand surgery to save a finger. The product injected in at least two of the cases was a combined circovirus + mycoplasma vaccine. As these products are killed vaccines, the injury resulted from the needle trauma together with the inflammation caused by the oily adjuvant.

Prevention of unintentional punctures

Both the grower-owner/operator, employees, and veterinarians have a role in preventing accidental needle sticks. Owners/operators/employers have the ultimate responsibility to keep their families and workers safe. The employee has the responsibility to follow the safety protocols and procedures established by the employer. The veterinarian has a responsibility to educate the owner/operator on the potential risks of the products they prescribe or dispense, as well as to participate in general training on risk management of the hazards they observe in the area of ​​health and safety. the job.

Figure 4: Use needles only as long as needed.  As most products are now for intradermal injection, using a "14;" needle is sufficient.  for young pigs and a ½"  for larger pigs.  This helps prevent unintentional injury to workers and damage to muscle tissue in pigs.  Figure 5: Several companies make needle-safe gloves.  They claim that they are flexible enough to work, but still provide protection.  A glove on the non-dominant hand should suffice.  Figure 6: Chaps or leg straps, such as those sometimes used by hunters, can help prevent accidental needle sticks when holding pigs between the legs.  Figure 7:  Needle-free injection is becoming available.  It is becoming more popular in swine production, resulting in less tissue damage to pigs, and less risk of inadvertent needle sticks to workers.
Figure 4: Use needles only as long as needed. As most products are now for intradermal injection, it is sufficient to use a ¼” needle for young pigs and a ½” needle for larger pigs. This helps prevent unintentional injury to workers and damage to pig muscle tissue. Figure 5: Several companies make needle-safe gloves. They claim that they are flexible enough to work, but still provide protection. A glove on the non-dominant hand should suffice. Figure 6: Chaps or leg straps, such as those sometimes used by hunters, can help prevent accidental needle sticks when holding pigs between the legs. Figure 7: Needle-free injection is becoming more popular in pig production,

Basic principles of needlestick prevention:

  • Install and maintain good animal restraint systems and practices (most accidental injections occur trying to inject struggling animals). The size of the animal determines the method of retention. Piglets are held close to the body. A safer option is for one person to hold the pig, and a second person to administer the injection.
  • Transition and early fattening pigs are usually held between the knees. Again, it is safer for one person to hold and another to inoculate.
  • For sows and large fattening pigs, it is much safer to use a sleeve. If an immobilizing nose loop is used, it must be used correctly, by trained and experienced personnel.
  • Use the single-hand technique as much as possible, as most unwanted needle sticks occur in the non-injecting hand. Since most drugs are now manufactured for intradermal (rather than intramuscular) inoculation, short needles (1/4″-1/2″) can be used, single-handed, under the skin behind the ear or neck. flank.
  • Use of personal protection
    • Protect the non-dominant hand (needle-proof gloves, and a double nitrile exam glove will provide some protection).
    • The use of leg protections such as chaps or chaps worn by hunters when holding pigs between the legs also provides some protection.
  • Read the safety specifications/package inserts to know the risks of the drugs being used. Keep the safety specifications and, if a person is punctured and must be transferred to receive medical treatment, take the card to the health center together with the victim.
  • Use one dose per syringe or use a multiple-dose system.
  • Keep the needle cap on when you are not using it. Take special care when capping the needle, as this is a risky operation for needle sticks.
  • Do not carry a full syringe in your mouth or pocket.
  • Use retractable needle syringes.
  • Use needle-free injection systems.
  • Wear safety glasses to prevent liquid from splashing into your eyes if the needle comes out of the syringe.
  • Change needles frequently to prevent blunt, chipped, and heavily contaminated needles.
  • Ensure that an effective training program for workers is implemented and practiced.
  • Implement a sharps disposal program. Keep medications, syringes, and needles in a clean and secure storage system.

In summary, needlestick injuries are common and can cause significant disability, worker downtime, and economic loss. They are avoidable. However, prevention requires preparing a specific protocol for the operation, respecting the above principles and with permanent education and training of workers.

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