From Pennsylvania, USA:
My friend's niece is 5 years old and was recently diagnosed with diabetes. She needs to have two shots a day. Her parents work on a small family farm and do not have insurance and are not well off financially. Recently, the father stated that they are going to clean the needles with bleach and reuse them. This has my friend, and me as well, very concerned. Will the residue from the bleach react with insulin and harm the girl? Are there agencies that will help these people purchase supplies so they do not need to do this? We have decided that we will try and keep them supplied with needles if necessary. Any help you can give will be appreciated. This has us very scared and concerned. I saw a question on this site about reusing needles but not about cleaning them with bleach.
Insulin syringes can be reused as long as the person does not have other health problems which would increase the risk of infections. Simply recap the needle and reuse it. Do not bleach it or wipe it off. If the needle is bent, dull, or has been contaminated (dropped on the ground for example) don't reuse it. Lancets may also be reused.
Concerning the finances of this child's family, is there a social worker where this child receives care? Is there a state-wide health plan for children that this child might qualify for? Call the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association or Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, or the nearest pediatric diabetes center, to see if they have more information.
Original posting 8 May 1999
Posted to Blood Tests and Insulin Injections
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