How to Dispose of Medical Waste

    How to dispose of medical waste
    How to dispose of medical waste

    At times, when you are caring for a sick person or yourself for that matter in case of an illness, you will realize that you will have medical waste that needs disposal. Therefore, you will need to adopt an effective waste disposal mechanism to ensure that your household stays safe from accidents caused by such waste. There are three broad categories of medical waste, namely biological waste (mainly soiled or open items), sharps (consists or lancets and needles), and unused medications. Each of these categories of medical waste is unique, which consequently requires a unique disposal mechanism. Discussed below is how you can handle each type dispose of medical waste:

    Disposing Biological Waste

    Notably, most biological wastes are highly contagious and should, therefore, be dealt with utmost care. It would help if you started by placing the waste in a plastic bag. You should utilize a sizeable bag that will not leak and is resistant to puncture. Also, you should ensure the bag is not overfilled or stuffed and can easily be sealed. You can use a polyethene or polypropylene bag for waste disposal, as is required by some states. You can then proceed to disinfect the waste before disposing of it if necessary, as may be required by some states. 

    Disinfection can be achieved by spraying the items with a chemical disinfectant or soaking the waste in a bleacher. You can then throw the bag away together with your regular trash upon proper sealing. Be sure to close the trash cans tightly so as not to attract animals, especially if you usually store your waste outdoors before it is collected and taken to the dump.

    Disposing of used sharps 

    Used sharps are another crucial category of medical waste which necessitates a practical disposal approach. The first step would be to contact your local health department or your doctor to determine if they have medical waste disposal programs. Some doctors, as well as local health departments, may take used sharps, especially if they are adequately sealed in designated containers to facilitate their disposal. They may also inform you of the disposal options that exist for medical waste. 

    Some states may require you to soak used sharps in bleaches before disposing of them. For this, you can make use of regular household bleach and soak them for about a day before continuing with the disposal process. You can use a needle clipper to clip the needles and reduce the risk they pose to you and other people. It would help if you placed the discarded sharps in a suitable container, preferably a puncture-resistant one. You can then securely cap the box in place and label it accurately and clearly before dropping it in your household garbage.

    Disposing of unused medications

    For dangerous medications, you can immediately flush them down the toilet. This may pose a risk to the environment by contaminating the water supply, but some drugs are too dangerous should they be ingested by children or even pets. Moreover, you can also take unused medication to an anonymous drug disposal site as is provided by most communities. Some pharmacies have drug take-back programs to help rid of unused medicines. 

    You should promptly take out unused drugs from their containers to prevent accidental use. Be sure to remove any personal information that may exist in the labels of the empty bottles before putting them in a disposal bag. You can then seal the bag and dispose of it together with your regular trash. Be sure to close the trash can to avoid attracting animals to it before disposal services dump the garbage.

    Conclusion

    Medical waste disposal is a necessary process that should be taken seriously and done with the utmost care to prevent costly accidents. Before you dispose of your medical waste, it is essential to determine what type it is and identify the most appropriate way of doing the disposal.