What Are Sharps?

“Sharps” is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. Sharps may be used at home, at work, and while traveling to manage the medical conditions of people or their pets. These medical conditions include allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, infertility, migraines, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, blood clotting disorders, and psoriasis.


Examples of sharps include:

  • Needle – a very fine, slender, hollow piece of metal used to inject medication under the skin.
  • Syringe – device which a needle is attached to in order to inject medication into or withdraw fluid from the body.
  • Lancet also called a “fingerstick” – instruments with a short, two-edged blade used to get drops of blood for testing. Lancets are commonly used in the treatment of diabetes.
  • Auto injector, including epinephrine pens – syringe pre-filled with fluid medication designed to be self-injected into the body.
  • Infusion set – tubing system with a needle used to deliver drugs to the body.
  • Connection needle/set – needle that connects to a tube used to transfer fluids in and out of the body. This is generally used for patients on home hemodialysis.