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Hypodermic needle

A hypodermic needle is a hollow needle used in conjunction with a syringe to inject medicines into the body. They may also be used to take liquid samples from the body, for example taking blood from a vein in venipuncture.

Hypodermic needles, and the associated syringes, are normally disposable because re-using them or sharing them and their needles can be a means of transmission of many blood-borne diseases.

Normally made of stainless steel, the end of the needle is bevelled to create a pointed (sharp) tip, which allows it to penetrate the skin easily. When a hypodermic needle is inserted, the bevel should be facing upwards.

The size of a needle is commonly stated as a gauge, which is the outside diameter of the needle. Using the Stubs needle gauge, these range from about 7 (the largest) to 33 (the smallest). Twenty-one gauge needles are most commonly used for taking blood. The length of the needle is also stated on the packaging.

There are a number of systems for the gauging for needles, including the Stubs Needle Gauge, and the French Catheter Scale.

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