Blood borne pathogens are dangerous microorganisms that can cause diseases like malaria, brucellosis, hepatitis B and HIV AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). They are transmitted mainly through blood to blood contact. They may also be transmitted through contact with certain bodily fluids like semen, vaginal secretion and fluids surrounding internal organs and joints. If you are in contact with human blood or potentially infectious bodily fluids while performing your job assignments, it is important to learn about what you should and should not do to prevent or reduce the risk of exposure.
Here is some input.
* In an emergency situation, you must take care to take precautions. Remember to treat all human blood and bodily fluids as if they were infected and take precautionary measure.
* It is important to minimize exposure by using protective equipment. Wear gloves, face shield, masks and protective clothing while working with blood or infectious materials. Check whether the protective gears are in proper working order. If the gloves and other gears are damaged or torn do not use them.
* Once you complete the task, you must remove protective equipment carefully to avoid self contamination. You should dispose them safely in leak proof bags. Ensure you have sufficient training in the use of protective equipment.
* Wash the exposed area with soap and running water. You can use non abrasive and antibacterial soap to wash your hands and skin exposed to blood and body fluids.
* If blood is spilled out of mucous membrane, wash nose, eyes and mouth for at least fifteen minutes.
* If you have cuts or open sores, cover them with a bandage before handling blood and other body fluids.
* You should clean up spills quickly and safely. It is worth minimizing splashing of contaminated materials. Clean and decontaminate protective equipment and surfaces that come in contact with human blood or bodily fluids.
* Remember to dispose needles, sharps and other injection materials used to treat a bleeding victim carefully in a puncture proof, labeled container.
* You should report the exposure to your superior as soon as possible.
* You should not eat, drink, smoke or handle contact lenses, if your working area has a reasonable chance of being exposed to blood and body fluids.
* Do not keep food and drinks in the refrigerator, shelves, cabinets or counter tops where blood and other potentially contagious body fluids are kept.
* You should not use harsh, abrasive soap to wash your hands.
* Never wash disposable gloves to reuse.
* You should not collect or dispose contaminated materials without wearing gloves.
* You must not remove needles and sharps by hands. You must use forceps or pliers to remove them.
* You should not break or bend contaminated needles.
* Do not dispose needles in the regular garbage bins.
The above do’s and don’ts checklist will help you understand how to protect yourself against the health hazards from exposure to blood and potentially infectious materials. Print out this list to post on staff bulletin boards and save for staff meetings.