Staying safe around syringes in our community
DISCOVERING a needle in the South Burnett is not a common occurrence but the sight of one gleaming in the sunlight of a public park is enough to cause feelings of unease.
Accidental punctures by used or contaminated needles can inject hazardous fluids into the body through the skin, transmitting blood-borne diseases and infections including HIV, AIDS and hepatitis B and C.
Needle-stick injuries usually occur when a person accidentally punctures their skin on a syringe needle left in a public place such as a park, playground or toilet.
Kingaroy ambulance officer in charge Adam Flory said although needle-stick injuries weren't common in the region, they were still treated with great concern.
"Needle-stick injuries are a nightmare and it's a long, vigorous procedure once you get pricked," Mr Flory said.
He said the best thing to do was to wash the area around the puncture for at least 30 seconds, pinch and bleed the area out and head to a GP or hospital.
"Illicit drugs and shared needles is the concerning part and that's where people can contract blood-borne disease," he said.
"Some of the people that are using syringes have no regard for the health and safety of other people."
Type-two diabetic Fay Collard, who has taken insulin every day for the past 20 years, has become accustomed to the safe disposal of needles.
"They say to use a new one every time and I've never really queried it," she said.
"I put my used needles into a plastic container and my local pharmacy disposes of it for me."
She said she had come across a lone needle once at a beach which "terrified her terribly".
"I think most diabetics are very conscious of what they're doing," she said.
"It's concerning that there are people out there who don't dispose of their needles properly - especially when all a child has to do is walk on it."
South Burnett Regional Council manager of environment and waste services Craig Patch said reports of needles found in the community weren't frequent, but the council had trained staff to collect and dispose of used needles.
Mr Patch said if a member of the public were to come across a used needle was to not touch or remove the object under any circumstances.
If you see a used needle phone the council's 24-hour customer service centre on 41899100.