Needle Re-Use and Diabetes

It has become a well known fact that many diabetic patients, have, do and/or will re-use their Lancets and insulin syringes numerous times before disposing of them. There are few medical practitioners that will condone needle re-use and most will contend that the re-use could lead to greater health risks, even death.

You can be correct in thinking that the re-use of insulin devices is dangerous. Re-use is very likely to cause a number of skin infections. Some of these infections can progress beyond a localized problem and become an abscess or even a septic blood infection.

About 7.5 billion syringes are used each year(1)  and they can be expensive to purchase regularly. Many patients want to re-use needles to save money. Not all insurance companies (if insured) are created equal and often funds are not available to fully pay for a needed insulin regiment. This can be seen especially in clients that might be on a fixed income or subsidized by the government.

Let us not forget the inconveniences of syringe use. Diabetics having to inject 3 or 4 times a day find that taking a plethora of needles and equipment with them daily can prove inconvenient. Plus disposal of used "sharps" safely can be daunting. There is even more of a challenge when traveling for an extended period of time or globally.

Of course there are the long term or "seasoned" users who just from bad habits re-use their equipment until it will no longer pierce the skin. Some even take the "environmental stance" as not to want to fill the landfills with more disposable medical waste.

The publication Diabetes Health not long ago did an un-scientific poll of their readers and found that 43 out of the 57 responders re-used their devices from twice to as many as 150 times.

   Though not condoned, needle and syringe re-use in the diabetic community is an accepted occurrence.

The b-Safe Protocol should be a welcomed addition to a diabetics arsenal. Since diabetic patients usually do not share their syringes, the chances of contracting a contagious pathogen when reusing a needle is very minute. But the chances of skin and soft tissue infections, even Lipohypertrophy is greatly enhanced. 

The full b-Safe Protocol when instituted will reduce almost any chance of microbial contamination. The HR-100 unit alone will provide a clean and safe environment for discretely transporting a syringe. The mesh pouch in the upper case will conveniently hold enough lancets and insulin for an average days use. Being only 7" x 2.5" x 1.5" in size, it can easily be placed in a pocket or purse. The unit runs on three replaceable AAA batteries. The case zips closed so nothing is accidentally revealed. 

(1) Gold K. Analysis: The impact of needle, syringe and lancet disposal in the community.  Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology 2011.5 (4): 848-50

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