With the variety of allergies and conditions people face nowadays, it is only wise to know how to dispose of an EpiPen.
Epipens are epinephrine auto-injectors that help people overcome any possible allergy attacks.
Carrying an EpiPen in your bag or car can save your life if you ever find yourself exposed to an allergen.
People who suffer from chronic allergies tend to carry one around with them at all times.
Some may be allergic to kiwi, while some cannot consume nuts for the fear of having an allergic reaction.
Keeping an EpiPen Nearby
There is a high chance that you may carry more than one EpiPen in your bag.
Some people like to stock them in their cars or their workplace desks. This helps them keep an EpiPen within reach if they ever need it.
However, you should know that EpiPens do not have a very long shelf life.
This means that you can have more than two or three lying around nearby, but you have to be very careful that all of them are within date.
Using expired EpiPens can be very dangerous for your health. Not only can they cause additional medical issues, but they can also elevate the effectiveness of your current allergic reaction.
This is where a significant issue arises. Many people do not know how to dispose of their expired or used EpiPens.
Once you are done with any medical devices, you cannot just throw them out in the trash like any regular items.
Medical waste is considered hazardous which is why you must learn how to dispose of them safely and properly.
Let’s read on to learn more about how you can take care of this situation.
How to Dispose Of an EpiPen
In order to properly dispose of your EpiPen, here are some steps to follow:
Return Epipen to its protective casing
You have to ensure that the auto-injector is inside its original protective case.
If the epinephrine auto-injector is already used, you can return it to its original case immediately.
This is an important step to follow because it will reduce the risk of hurting someone else.
If an auto-injector is disposed of without its protective case, the exposed needle can end up harming someone.
Contact your Healthcare Provider
The professional medical staff at your healthcare provider or any nearby hospital can help you dispose of an EpiPen.
If you have a used, or an expired auto-injector on your hands, you can easily send it off with other medical waste.
Since hospitals and clinics produce medical waste on a daily basis, they have proper protocols set in place on how to get rid of them responsibly.
You can simply ask to include your used and expired EpiPens in their hazardous medical waste.
Contact a Nearby Pharmacy
There are several pharmacies that now accept expired medication and medical devices for disposal. You can ask your nearby pharmacy if they offer such services.
If they do, you can drop off your auto-injectors, or any other medical waste, so that they can properly and safely dispose of them.
Some pharmacies along with city councils hold collection drives and events where you can drop off any unwanted or unused medication.
Of course, if it is expired, it will be sent straight to disposal.
However, if you have any medical devices or medication that is good to use, but you no longer need, they can be sent to these collection drives.
As a result, they are distributed among people who do not have the resources to buy medical aid for their families.
Contact a Local Sanitation Department
A local sanitation department can help you find any hazardous waste collection programs. These collection drives and programs also include medical waste.
Therefore, you will easily be to dispose of your EpiPen.
Most sanitation departments work with hospitals to create drop-off sites for such medical hazardous materials.
If you happen to have one near you, all you have to do is drive up to the drop-off site and dispose of your EpiPen.
Note: If driving to the drop-off site is a hassle for you, you can simply collect all your EpiPens, let’s say six months’ worth, in a secure box or bag.
Once the bag is full, you can drive up to the collection point and drop off your used EpiPens in one go.
As long as you keep your EpiPens in their protective casing and away from anyone’s reach, you should be good to go.
Try Reverse Distribution Programs
If you have unused EpiPens, check if they contain epinephrine salts. If they do, they can be sent back to the manufacturer.
If the manufacturer offers a reverse distribution program, they can easily manage the hazardous waste as opposed to you disposing the EpiPen yourself.
Hand Over the EpiPen to an Emergency Responder
If you have a used EpiPen on your hands and an emergency responder is on the way, it is best to hand it over to them.
Emergency responders are trained in handling medical sharps and other forms of medical waste.
How can Improper EpiPen Disposal be Dangerous?
Epinephrine auto-injectors or EpiPens are medical devices that contain sharp needles. These sharp needles are designed to enter the human skin in case of an emergency.
Of course, these needles are made to inject medicine into the skin which is why they are dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands.
Sharp needles or any other medical devices can be a danger to sanitation workers, family members, as well as children and pets that play outside.
There is a possibility that anyone can come across an expired EpiPen tossed into the trash.
As a result, the needle can cause an injury as well as contact with expired medicine.
In another scenario, if someone comes into contact with a used EpiPen, they can contract infections carried from the original user.
Either way, expired or used EpiPens can be incredibly dangerous if not disposed of properly.
Protecting Landfills and Nearby Communities
If you toss out your used or expired EpiPen into the trash, there is a very high chance that it will end up in a nearby landfill.
Since medical waste is considered hazardous, you will be allowing more hazardous waste to seep into the soil through the landfill.
This automatically trickles down to nearby water bodies which affect crops and aquatic life.
It is also important to mention that it can cause health problems for nearby communities and the sanitation workers that work in the landfill.
If your EpiPen is not in its protective casing, it can injure any health sanitation worker that is handling your disposed of EpiPens.
Do Not Hesitate in Contacting Health Services
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you do not know how to dispose of any hazardous medical waste such as an EpiPen, you can always contact your local health services.
These professionals can guide you through any situation where you may not know what to do.
Protecting Minors from Medical Sharps
Many schools and children’s hospitals keep EpiPens nearby in case a student or a child patient suffers an allergy attack.
Even though this is useful in case of an emergency, school and hospital staff should be very vigilant. If a child gets hold of an EpiPen, the situation can escalate pretty quickly.
This is especially true if the EpiPen has been used or is expired. A student or a child patient may come in contact with an EpiPen if it is disposed of improperly.
Improper disposal in this scenario could be just tossing out an EpiPen into a trashcan, leaving a used EpiPen on the side of the table, or leaving an unprotected one on any surface where a child could easily get their hands on it.
Needless to say, proper disposal of medical equipment, medical sharps, unused medication, and EpiPens is crucial for everyone’s safety.
The Bottom Line
It is essential to be responsible for your own medical waste. Whether it’s an insulin injection or an EpiPen, you should learn how to properly and safely dispose of them.
This information becomes crucial when one realizes the impact it has on nearby communities as well as the environment.
Clinics and hospitals have proper disposal methods but houses don’t which is why this information becomes absolutely necessary.
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