Guide to Needle Play
Piercing the skin with hypodermic needles in a non-medical capacity is practiced for many reasons, such as:
- Body piercing with jewellry (aesthetic)
- Body piercing with jewellry (spiritual/religious/symbolic)
- Hook pulls and suspension (recreational/spiritual)
- Artistic piercing and skin corsets (aesthetic/sensation, temporary)
- BDSM (sensation/sadism/masochism)
This guide is concerned with needle use in BDSM and for temporary artistic piercings such as skin corsets.
So why do people use needles in BDSM?
The act of piercing the skin with a needle can trigger the body to produce hormones such as endorphins and adrenaline, which may cause desireable feelings in the person being pierced. This is one reason why some find body piercings ‘addictive’ – they find themselves craving the experience of being pierced as much as the final result. In BDSM, we can utilise these feelings to create rewarding experiences without creating a long term body modification.
Piercing can also create interesting physical sensations, including pain. Depending on the dynamic of the people playing, these sensations can be inflicted for the pleasure of the top/dom/sadist or desired by bottom/sub/masochist, or both.
Some also enjoy the atmosphere and the connotations of needle play, such as those with medical fetishes.
What was that about hormones?
When we pierce the skin with a needle, we trigger the nerve endings in the skin to send signals to the brain that the body is being damaged. In response, the brain produces endorphins to help manage pain. This can create endorphin ‘rushes’ or ‘highs’ which can cause a happy, giddy feeling or a floaty, light headed feeling. The body also produces adrenaline in response to perceiving itself as being under attack, and some people enjoy the feeling of an adrenaline rush (similar to why some people enjoy extreme sports such as sky diving).
There are numerous factors that contribute to whether a needle play session is painful or pleasureable, and this guide will help you explore different ways to use needles in your scenes. This guide will also discuss the safety aspects of needle play, the risks and what you need for a hygenic needle play scene.
The Risks of Needle Play
Needle play has a number of inherent risks that can be reduced with good practice, quality supplies and clean technique. We prefer to use the term RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) to describe play piercing as it encompasess our ethos of consent, communication, responsible play and risk mitigation. We don’t want to scare you off playing, but we feel it is important you are aware of what could go wrong, how to avoid complications and how to deal with the worst case scenario.
Here are some of the main risks with play piercing…
1. Blood borne diseases
Because needle play involves penetrating the body and coming into contact with bodily fluids (namely blood), there is a risk that a blood borne disease may be passed from one player to another as a result of a needle stick or blood from the bottom entering an open wound on the top, or introduced by way of contaminated supplies or an unclean playing environment.
Some of the most infamous blood borne diseases include HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
- Human T-lymphotropic retroviruses
- Hepatitis D virus
- GB virus C (formerly known as hepatitis G)
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Parvovirus B19
- West Nile virus
- Malarial parasites
The risk of contacting these diseases from needle play depends on the rarity of the disease (how likely you are to encounter it), how much blood is passed from one person to the other (the size of the contageous sample), how long the disease can survive outside of the body and how the contamination is handled by the players (i.e. whether they get treatment and take steps to reduce the risk). Avoiding the transmission of any blood between players and using only fresh, sterile needles will significantly reduce the risk of blood to blood cross infection.
Having a blood borne disease does not mean you shouldn’t play, but it is vital to be open about your health with your play partners so they can make an informed choice about the level of risk they are willing to take, and you can discuss how best to avoid cross contamination!
When we play pierce, we treat everyone we play with as if they had the most dangerous blood borne diseases. That way, we never take someone’s health or cross-infection risk for granted and play in a way that maximises safety for everyone involved. If you do get a needle stick or cross contamination of blood, do not remove the needle! Flush the wound with clean water, cover the wound and the needle and go straight to A&E!
2. Bacterial infections
The skin is the first line of defense for the body. Breaking the skin and causing wounds opens the body up to risk of infection. Using sterile needles and clean piercing technique dramaticaly reduces the risk of the piercing sites becoming infected, and reduces the risk of an infection developing further into the body. There are various factors that make someone more or less likely to develop an infection:
Their immune system – a healthy, well functioning immune system is far more able to fight off an infection. The immune system can be affected by age, health, medication, nutrition and stress. A healthy individual is more likely to develop an infection if they are stressed and tired, or if they have/have recently had a bug or cold. Someone with a compromised immune system (for example due to a long term health problem) is at much higher risk of developing an infection.
- Cleanliness – cleaned skin, sterile needles, washed handles and clean gloves all reduce the risk of introducing harmful bacteria to the body. The more the needles are handled, the more risk they pose. Some people like to play with needles once they have been inserted by turning or rubbing them, which further stimulates the nerves. Although this is a practice some enjoy (including us!) it should be recognised that it does increase skin trauma and the risk of infection, albeit slightly. Introducing unclean elements to the play, such as decorative beads or wax, also increases the risk of infection.
- Piercing technique – the deeper the needles are placed, the higher the risk of infection. We will discuss technique later in the guide.
- Aftercare – cleaning the piercing sites with sterile swabs and anti-septic solution will help reduce the risk of infection. If any of the sites keep bleeding for some time after the play or don’t seem to be closing up, put a dressing on them. Keep an eye on the piercing sites and if after a couple of days they are painful, weeping, swollen or warm to the touch, go to see a doctor as they may be infected.
Infection can range in severity from a few days of discomfort as the body deals with a minor infection, to infections of the blood (sepsis), gangrene and death. Infections should always be taken seriously and while prevention is better than treatment, early treatment is vital!
3. Complications due to existing illness, medication or narcotics
Aside from the risk of transmitting blood borne diseases, some conditions will increase the risk of infection and other complications. If you have any health condition or are taking any medication, you are at higher risk of complications.
Examples include conditions and medication that:
- affect your immune system (e.g. diabetes, AIDS)
- thin your blood or stop your blood clotting properly (e.g. Warfarin, alcohol)
- cause fits or seizures (e.g. epilepsy, some narcotics)
- cause rashes or open sores (e.g. eczema, psoriasis)
- cause blood sugar imbalances (e.g. diabetes)
- make you at risk of panic attacks (e.g. anxiety disorder, cannabis)
- affect your brain and sensory processing (e.g. existing brain damage, neurological disorders)
Complications can include seizures during play, piercing sites that won’t stop bleeding, post-play infections, panic attacks during play, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), irritation to or contamination from existing sores.
Being open with play partners about your health, medication and drug use is vital to approaching BDSM in a risk aware, responsible and consensual manner. If you are unsure how an existing condition may affect your needle play scenes, discuss the risks with your doctor – if you don’t want to mention BDSM, just ask about the risk of getting several body piercings instead!
4. Nerve and other body damage
While needles are fairly small, they can still cause serious damage if they pierce certain parts of the body! The main risks are direct damage to an organ (unlikely with our recommended technique), nerve, vein or artery. Damage to nerves can cause severe pain, mobility problems and paralysis. Damage to major blood vessels can cause severe blood loss and increase the risk of infection. Damage to organs can lead to long term impairment or death. Good anatomical knowledge and adjusting technique depending on the body part being pierced will help reduce these risks. There are very few places that are totally off-limits, but there are areas we consider more or less suitable for different skill and experience levels. We will discuss where and how to pierce later in the guide.
5. Throwing a whitey
Some people find that their mind or body will have an adverse reaction to being pierced, especially if they are new to play piercing or doing an unusually long session/pushing their limits, or have returned to play piercing after a long break. The body may ‘throw a whitey’ which is effectively a form of mild shock. While most people will recover with no lasting damage, if unaddressed or caused/exacerbated by an external factor such as underlying illness or an allergic reaction, it can be a very serious medical emergency. Symptoms of shock include pale/grey skin, clamminess and cold sweat, feeling nauseous or throwing up, feeling spaced out, rapid and shallow breathing, weak and fast pulse, shaking, confusion and fainting.
This is a risk that is very hard to anticipate, but communication and observation will help catch the early warning signs. The causes can be physical, mental or a mix of both. Sometimes fear and anxiety will cause someone to ‘throw a whitey’, sometimes the body will react strongly to what is happening. The risk is greater if someone is scared, anxious, dehydrated, has low blood sugar or low blood pressure, is producing a lot of adrenaline, taking drugs/drinking, disturbed by the sight of blood or has an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to shock.
6. Allergic reactions
Although it is highly unlikely that the needles themselves will cause an allergic reaction, as long as you are using sterile hypodermic needles, there are other elements of the play that should be considered. Latex allergies are fairly common, and there is potential for any anti-septic solutions used to clean the play area or the skin to cause allergic reactions. Always discuss allergies prior to play and we recommend using non-latex gloves unless you know your play partners do not have latex allergies.
So, if you’ve not been put off, lets see what you need for a safer needle play scene!
Needle Play Supplies
A basic needle play kit should contain:
- Sterile, single use hypodermic needles
- Skin cleansing wipes or pre-injection swabs
- Medical procedure gloves
- Sharps bin
- Wound care supplies
- Bio-hazard bags
- Anti-microbial surface cleaning wipes/spray
And as with all scenes, you should have a first aid kit to hand in case something goes wrong!
Everything you need is available from Edgeplay.co.uk – why not try a Needle Starter Kit?
1. Sterile, single use hypodermic needles
As the needles will be used to penetrate the body’s first line of defense against infection and damage – the skin – the needles need to be made of a body safe material that will not cause an adverse reaction and they need to be free of microbes (bacteria, fungus, parasites, viruses).
Single use, hypodermic needles from a reputable supplier will be sterile (i.e. be totally free of microbes) and made of medical grade stainless steel or titanium which are safe materials to be introduced to the body. They are individually packed so can be used one at a time without risking contamination to several needles. Finally, they are sharpened to a very fine point and usually have a bevel that makes it easier to insert them into the skin.
For many people, their first experience of play piercing is with sewing pins and safety pins – these are usually made of recycled metals and may contain high levels of nickel and other materials the body might react to. They are also often coated in oils and other materials that can cause reactions, or that will wear/chip away to reveal base metals underneath. Sewing pins and safety pins are also very blunt when compared to a hypodermic needle and so will cause more trauma to the skin, which makes the wounds more likely to visibly scar. They are also not sterile and so even if cleaned they will have microbial contamination which can cause infections or introduce diseases into the body. For these reasons, we highly recommend you only use sterile, single use hypodermic needles.
The thickness of hypodermic needles is measured using the wire gauge. The smaller the number, the thicker the needle. A 25G needle is thinner than a 6G needle. It is also measured in mm, but you are more likely to hear people talk about the ‘G’ of a needle. The length is measured in inches and mm. All of this information should be on the box and sterile packet.
2. Skin cleansing wipes
Cleaning the skin is a key step in reducing the risk of infection.
If piercing a small area of skin or playing with someone with a healthy immune system, alcohol infused pre-injection swabs are ideal to prepare the skin for play piercing. These are used in a medical setting to clean a small area of skin prior to an injection or taking blood. If playing with someone who is at more risk of infection, or if planning to pierce a large area of skin or cause unusually high trauma to the skin then consider using a body safe anti-microbial agent such as Clinell wipes, iodine tincture or surgical scrub. Don’t use something like “antibacterial surface wipes” from the household cleaning aisle at the supermarket as these may have ingredients that will cause a reaction to the skin or be toxic if introduced into the body.
3. Medical procedure gloves
Medical procedure gloves come in a range of materials and sizes. Choosing the material will depend on personal preference and whether your play partners have any allergies. We recommend materials such as nitrile, vitrile and vinyl because they do not contain latex, which is a common allergen. Have enough gloves that you can change gloves if they tear or you have to handle something unclean. If you have to remove your gloves, always throw them away and put on a fresh pair.
Gloves are used for two reasons:
They are an important barrier to infection as they keep whatever is on your hands away from the needles and piercing sites, which reduces the risk of infection. Hands are very hard to clean properly, even with a medically approved hand washing technique. Using gloves as well as washing your hands helps keep your play partners safer.
Gloves give you an additional layer of protection against blood-to-blood contamination from a needle stick. Gloves will not prevent you from getting a needle stick, but they will help remove some blood from the needle and so reduce the amount of the contaminant that will enter your body. Double-gloving, where two gloves are placed on each hand, further helps reduce the amount of blood that is exchanged in the event of a needle stick.
It is a belief among some that gloves are not necessary for those who are ‘blood bonded’ (which is where two people have been exposed to each others blood and are not longer at risk of cross-infection from each other’s blood). This is a myth because the main reason to use gloves is to prevent germs from the hands getting into the body, and that is still a risk whether or not two people are blood bonded.
White gloves vs coloured gloves – using dark coloured gloves may look cool, but comes with a major draw back. If you get a needle stick and do not notice (you may not feel the needle, especially if you are concentrating on something else), you will not be able to see any blood through a coloured/black glove. Similarly, if you are the bottom and your partner gets a needle stick, you won’t be able to see. As a bottom, be vigilant to needle tops who are scared or embarrassed to admit they got a needle stick, or who want to avoid the ‘hassle’ of going to A&E. Not admitting to a needle stick is not just a risk to the top, it is also a risk to the bottom as if the needle that caused the stick is still in the bottom, when it is removed it will contaminate the bottom with the top’s blood and both people may now be infected! Do not feel ashamed to ask someone to use white gloves and be wary of people who try to pressure you to play or dismiss your concerns.
4. Sharps bin
Sharps bins are necessary for the safe and legal disposal of needles. Used needles are bio-hazardous waste and because they are sharp, they need to be disposed of in a manner that prevents others coming to harm from them. Putting them into a general waste bin means that anyone who handles that waste is at risk of needle sticks. The only way to legally dispose of used needles is in an approved sharps bin, and there are significant fines for anyone caught disposing of needles in any other way.
When a sharps bin is full or otherwise ready for disposal, it should be taken to:
- A pharmacy
- A GP surgery
- A tattoo/piercing studio (phone ahead and prepare to pay them for disposal)
- A needle exchange (free)
- A household waste site with sharps disposal facilities (free)
- A hospital
Some local councils operate a sharps disposal service – phone them or check their website for details and please be aware they may charge for this. Some doctors’ surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals are wary of taking sharps bins from unknown sources. If you tell them you are a home piercer or that you have ‘found’ the sharps bin, they may be more willing to take it. They may also be willing to advise on where it can be disposed of if they have a policy of not taking sharps bins. Needle exchanges are increasingly common and will take sharps bins for free. They may also offer to replace the sharps bin for you, but please be aware that taking these is using a public service with limited funding, and we believe these resources should be left for those in genuine need.
5. Wound care supplies
These are needed for cleaning up the blood and wounds after play. As they will come into contact with open wounds, we do not recommend materials such as tissue or cotton wool that may leave fibres in the wounds. Non-woven gauze swabs are our personal preference for cleaning wounds, and these are available in both sterile and non-sterile packs. Any wound care supplies you use should be clean, fresh and stored away from moisture and contaminants. While the piercing sites will usually clot within a few minutes of needle removal, it’s wise to have plasters and dressings on hand as well. If someone is at higher risk of infections, wiping the piercing sites over with TCP or a similar anti-septic agent will help keep the wounds clean (and be painful, which may be a bonus!).
6. Bio-haz bags
These could be dedicated yellow bio-haz bags, or just a ziplock bag. Having these available means you can put all the wipes and bloody swabs into a bag and seal it up before throwing it away in a clinical waste bin or general waste bin, reducing the risk that other people will come into contact with contaminated materials.
7. Anti-microbial surface cleaners
A suitable surface cleaner is essential for keeping your play safe and reducing the risk of infection. It’s all very well using a safer piercing technique and sterile needles and all the rest, if you’re playing on a surface that is covered in nasties! A medical grade, body safe anti-microbial such as Hibiscrub, Clinell or Virkon is recommended for keeping your playing surface clean, and for cleaning up after play. Many modern surface cleaners come in wipes, so are really easy to use. Just remember that some cleaners have an activation time – if wiped off too soon, they won’t kill everything they could. Don’t use anything that is unsuitable to come into contact with open wounds or is toxic if ingested.
Remember to clean both the surface your/your partner will be sitting/lying on, and the surface you will be putting your supplies on.
Also remember that many contaminants are viruses or fungus, so don’t just opt for an anti-bacterial cleaner. You want something that will also kill viruses, fungus and parasites and that specifies that it will kill blood borne pathogens such as HIV, Hep B and Hep C!
A drop sheet – if you are playing on soft furnishings (such as a carpet, sofa or bed) we recommend also keeping a drop sheet in your kit. These are non-porous sheets (such as cheap shower curtains!) that can be disposed of and easily replaced, and that are easy to wipe clean. If you can get disposable sterile medical bed sheets, all the better.
A clean area/wound care pack – these packs are sterile and contain a sterile sheet that can be laid out on a table to give you a clean working area for your fresh, clean supplies. No point making sure you have sterile needles and clean supplies if you then plonk them down on a table that is covered in germs!
Hand sanitiser or alcohol gel – ideal for freshening up your gloves if you are using them out of a bulk box, and for freshening up your gloves during the scene.
Have you got everything?
Pre-Scene Check List
These are some important points to consider before you play.
- Do you have somewhere safe to play, with a clean surface and good lighting? Is it away from other people or in a busy area where you could be knocked into? Is it near food or contaminants (such as other people engaging in blood play)? Do you have anywhere to put your needle play kit? Do you have somewhere to play that gives you good movement around your play partner, or are you cramped/limited in your movement? Is your partner about to sit or lie in a comfortable position? If you are in a club or at a play party, is needle play allowed?
- How are you and your play partners feeling? Are you well and awake, or feeling poorly and tired? Are you hydrated? Have you been drinking alcohol or taking drugs, or is your judgement impaired for any other reason? Do you have any communicable diseases that could infect your play partners?
- Have you discussed your health (including allergies), state of mind and medication with your play partners? If one of you has a fit, faints or is otherwise suddenly impaired, do you have a way of removing the needles safely and getting help? Do you know what to do if you have to deal with excessive bleeding, needle stick or shock? Do you know where the local hospital is? Are you willing to dial 999 if there is an emergency?
- Do you know basic first aid and the recovery position?
- Do you have a phone close to hand and do all players know where it is and can access it?
- Have you discussed your limits and experience with your partner? Are you all aware of the risks and willing to take them? Have you agreed a safe-word or safe signal? Have you remembered that even if you have to stop playing suddenly, you still need to remove any needles that are in and take care of the wounds? Have you discussed aftercare?
- Do you have all the supplies you need to hand, including first aid supplies?
Now that you’re ready to play and have everything you need, lets take a look at piercing technique and safer piercing locations!
Play piercing, especially at a beginners level, is very different to a body piercing or injection. What we are interested in is stimulating the nerves in the skin. Below is a diagram of the skin, showing the different layers and where the nerves are found.
As you can see, most of the nerves are in the dermis layer of the skin, which is the layer we are aiming to pierce.
Unlike with injections, we are not putting the needle directly down into the skin. Instead, we place the needles along the dermis layer of the skin just under the epidermis, so that they have both an entry and an exit point, like this:
On average, the epidermis is about 1mm thick (although it varies, for example it is much thinner on the eyelids and much thicker on the soles of the feet). Thus, you’re aiming to get your needles about 1mm under the skin, in order to set them into the dermis layer. A good guide is whether you can see and feel the needle through the skin. If it is deep in the dermis or down in the subcutaneous layer, there will be a very little sign of the needle apart from the entry and exit points. It is safer to place your needles too shallow, as they are still within the protective layers of the skin. If they go deeper into the subcutaneous layer or down into the muscle, your play partner may be at higher risk of infection.
As you can see in the above diagram, the pointed end of the needle has a bevel. The needle will enter the skin more easily and with less pain if the longest part of the needle is flat against the skin when inserted.
We advocate a one-handed technique, that allows you to pierce the skin without using your ‘free hand’ for support. This further reduces your risk of a needle stick. If you do need to manipulate the skin to aid piercing, try using a plastic needle casing to depress the skin to allow the needle to exit more easily.
Practice makes for a confident, safer technique. Before you try this on a person, practice on an orange or piece of pig skin from the butchers.
So that’s how to pierce, but where can you pierce?
Novice – parts of the body with good fat layers, broad areas of skin, few key nerves and major blood vessels close to the surface:
Intermediate – parts of the body that are bonier, have thinner skin, are generally more painful and have some nerves or blood vessels to avoid:
Advanced – delicate areas of the body where precise placement is essential, where there are a lot of major nerves and blood vessels to avoid:
On this diagram you can see different piercing locations:
Yellow – more suitable for novices (giving and recieving)
Orange – more suitable for intermediate players
Red – advanced piercing locations
On here you can see a tattooists diagram, showing which parts of the body are generally more and less painful to pierce (this is very subjective and will not apply to everyone):
A Step-By-Step Scene
- Clean your play space and a surface to put your supplies on, using anti-microbial wipes or spray. Remember to allow the fluid to stay on the surfaces for their minimum contact time, to allow them to kill any nasties that are lurking.
- Set your kit up on a cleaned table or counter, keeping your sharps bin away from your clean supplies. You want to be able to dispose of any swabs and used needles without risking contaminating your clean kit.
- Get your partner comfortable on the cleaned playing surface and in a suitable state of undress. Make sure you can access their skin easily and they are close to your supplies.
- At this stage you have not handled your partners skin or opened any sterile packs – now is the time to wash your hands and put your gloves on!
- Clean your partners skin with pre-injection swabs or wipes. Keep spare wipes to hand in case you decide to pierce an area you’ve not already cleaned.
Below shows the hand washing technique we recommend:
Now you have your play space set up and your partner ready for some needles.
- Remember you are aiming for those minor sensory nerves!
- Playing with the needles once they are in is fun, but remember that the more you play with them, the more risk you are taking in terms of scarring and infection. Do not remove your gloves and touch the needles, or allow anyone who isn’t gloved (including the recipient) to touch them.
- To make your scene more interesting, you could pierce a pattern into the skin or create a needle corset where you lace ribbon around the hubs of the needles.
- Keep your hands away from the point of the needles at all times.
- Keep an eye on your partner and keep communicating throughout.
- Make sure your partner has access to water to stay hydrated
- If you need to handle something dirty (your phone, the sharps bin, the general waste bin) change your gloves.
- Remember that you have to take the needles out as well as putting them in, which stimulates all those nerves again – if you take your partner to their limit, you’re going to have to go over their limit to remove the needles. Aim to end up with them wanting more, not regretting the play because it went too far.
- Do no re-sheath the needles once you take them out of the skin as this puts you at very high risk of a needle stick. This is so high risk that boxes of needles come with a warning about it!
- Once you have removed a needle, put it straight into the sharps bin.
- Never reuse a needle!
- Mop up any blood with swabs
- Wipe the skin over with anti-septic solution to clean the wounds
- Allow the wounds to clot
- If any wounds won’t clot, apply a dressing
- Put all bloody swabs, used wipes and needle packets into a bio-hazardous waste bag
- Do not take your gloves off until you have attended to any wounds and cleared away any bio-hazardous waste!
- Ensure your play partner is feeling stable before allowing them to get up or move around
- Make sure your play partner has water available, and a blanket if they need it. It’s not uncommon to get the shakes as the endorphins and adrenaline start to subside
- If they are prone to low blood sugar or are feeling unsteady, offer them a sugary sweet or sports drink to help replenish sugars and salts in their body – these get used up more rapidly when the body is under strain, such as during play or exercise. If they reveal they are diabetic before the scene, discuss whether it is safe to offer them a sugary food before playing.
- Once your play partner is up and mobile, make sure they are somewhere safe while you carefully wipe down the play area and pack your kit away
- Keep an eye on your play partner while they recover from the scene – they may be steady and coherent, or very ‘spaced out’.
- What if the needle bottom starts to feel sick? Make sure you have a bucket close to hand. If you both feel there is time to remove the needles before they throw up, consider doing so but be aware that this may make them feel worse.
- What if the needle bottom starts to go clammy or shake? They may be going into shock and removing the needles may make this worse. If they are lying on their back or can lie on their back, get them to lie with their legs elevated (use a pillow, box or folded coat). You have to make a judgement call as to whether you try to remove the needles or if you wait to see if the episode passes. If the episode does not pass within a few minutes, call 999 and explain the situation.
- What if the needle bottom has a seizure? Stand back. Do not interfere, as you are at very high risk of a needle stick. Try to move anything away that could cause injury, such as tables. If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or if you know this is an alarming or unusual occurence for them, call 999. If they do not regain conciousness after the seizure ends, call 999. Some people live with seizures and are used to them – if they reveal that they are prone to seizures or have a condition such as epilepsy, consider whether needle play is a suitable form of play to engage in.
- What if you get a needle stick from a contaminated needle? Unless a needle is unused, all needles are contaminated. Unless you are blood bonded to your play partner, consider any needle stick as Worst Case Scenario. Flush the area with clean water and apply a dressing. If the needle that caused the stick is still in the needle bottom, do not remove it. Cover it with a dressing, put on clean gloves, remove any other needles, clean up and both of you go to A&E. Do not wait – you need to have a full blood screening and recieve post exposure prophylaxis for potential HIV exposure.
- What if a piercing site won’t stop bleeding? Clean the wound, apply a dressing and keep an eye on it. Treat it as you would any cut recieved in a ‘vanilla’ setting.
- What if there is another medical complication? Call 111.
- What if there is another medical emergency? Call 999!