Surprise hypodermic needle
June 10, 2004 6:14 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend bought some purses at an estate sale. She put them through the wash (They were the washable variety, I guess - I don't know much about purses...) and when she went to take them out, she found a hypodermic needle, which must have been in a remote pocket somewhere. The cap is on. Does she have anything to worry about?
posted by adamkempa to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
How very strange. Without knowing anything else, here's my guess: an estate sale usually means elderly people who have passed away. Perhaps the needle was for injecting (legitimate) medication/s.

Is there anything in the syringe?
posted by davidmsc at 6:26 AM on June 10, 2004

I wouldn't worry about it. Probably for insulin...
You can't get AIDS through the wash...or hepatitus. Just snap the top off and throw it away.
And wash the purse again if you're worried.
posted by aacheson at 7:20 AM on June 10, 2004

no problem, but if you're freaking you can run an empty hot water wash with 1/2 cup of bleach in the machine.
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on June 10, 2004

"Just snap the top off and throw it away."
I say don't mess with it, just throw it away all in one piece. A friend of mine recently jabbed herself with a dirty monkey needle while recapping it after use, which you aren't supposed to do.
posted by undecided at 10:48 AM on June 10, 2004

ok, what's a dirty monkey needle?
posted by rhyax at 11:25 AM on June 10, 2004

She should examine the entire thing very carefully to make sure there aren't any more. This includes checking for any needles that might be stuck in-between the layers of fabric. the only way I can think to do this is by carefully folding each part of the purse, in all directions, to make sure there's nothing rigid inside. Of course, if there is, it might stick you while examining it. And that would be filed under "bad." So unless you can think of a good way to accomplish this examination, I'd just throw them out now.

That's my most paranoid possible response. I agree there's nothing to worry about with the one you found. And probably nothing to worry about anyway. But there ya go.
posted by scarabic at 11:28 AM on June 10, 2004

Nothing to worry about - but don't throw them out - your garbage removal and dump people deserve safety too.

Take the syringe to a doctor's office or someplace that has a biohazard container (laboratory, some pharmacies, etc.).
posted by jasper411 at 12:04 PM on June 10, 2004

Also, a lot of public bathrooms have sharps disposal containers attached to the walls...

Do NOT snap anything off.
posted by tristeza at 1:10 PM on June 10, 2004

Use sharps disposal.

If I didn't think the minimum wage flunkies at the airport would freak, I'd suggest taking it with you the next time you travel, and just having them scan the friggin thing.
posted by silusGROK at 2:51 PM on June 10, 2004

In an HIV ed class I was told that any high-density, sealed container is adequate for sharps disposal--a bleach container, say (thick plastic), but not a 2-liter Coke bottle (thin plastic).

Other than that, I think it's freaky but nothing to freak out about.
posted by littlegreenlights at 3:09 PM on June 10, 2004

rhyax: My friend stabs monkeys for a living. After injecting a monkey, she jabbed her thumb. It's all in the name of science. Except for the stabbing herself part.
posted by undecided at 10:25 PM on June 10, 2004

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