In order to minimize the spread of infectious diseases, all bodily substances and blood should be treated as though they are infectious. Standard precautions should be taken when handling these types of materials.
Standard Blood Cleanup And Bodily Fluid Handling Precautions
Standard precautions should be used while handling the following:
- Blood and dried blood
- All bodily fluids and substances, like feces, urine, and saliva, even if blood is not clearly visible. This does not include sweat.
- Broken skin
- Mucous membranes
Standard precautions are also used for hygiene in regards to the safe disposal of waste, wearing protective clothing and gloves, and hand hygiene.
It’s also important to limit exposure to bodily substances or blood.
If an individual comes into contact with bodily fluids or blood, they should observe the following procedure:
- Remove any contaminated items of clothing
- If bodily fluid or blood touches the skin, regardless of whether there is a cut or break in the skin, wash with soap and water.
- If the eyes have been splashed, flush the open eyes gently with water.
- If fluid gets in an individual’s mouth, spit it out and rinse completely, spitting out the rinse water completely every time.
Incidents that occur during work hours or after work hours should be immediately reported to the supervisor or the work, health, and safety representative that handles exposure in the workplace, as well as an emergency department or a doctor outside of work.
Potential Blood Borne Virus Exposure While Performing Blood Cleanup
After a potential exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B, for more information an individual can contact their local medical professional, set up an appointment at a local clinic for sexual health, visit an emergency room, or call a local HIV hotline for more information.
If the potential HIV or hepatitis exposure happens at work, a Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) assessment should be provided through the workplace’s health and safety procedures.
Post Exposure Prophylaxis
- Limit the development of infection
- Make the infection not as serious
- Limit the risk of the virus spreading to other individuals.
In order to be most effective, PEP should begin as soon as possible after exposure.
PEP for Hepatitis B is made up of:
- Immunoglobulin (a solution that is made from blood products and contains human antibodies) and a series of three Hepatitis B vaccinations that take place over six months.
- PEP for HIV consists of a 28 day course of anti-retro viral medication to limit the risk of infection.
- Surface Cleaning of Blood and Body Substances
If bodily fluids or blood are spilled on a surface, follow these cleaning procedures:
- Clean up the spill as soon as you can.
- Protect yourself using disposable gloves when doing jobs that could expose you to viral contamination. Wear a plastic apron and eye protection if there is a risk of splashing.
- Clean up as much of the spill as you can with a paper towel.
- Clean the area completely with detergent and warm water, using a disposable cleaning cloth or a sponge.
- Leave the area clean and dry.
- Use household bleach according to the manufacturer’s instructions to disinfect the area.
- Seal the disposable gloves, cleaning cloths, and paper towel in a plastic bag after you’re finished. The bag can then be disposed of with household waste.
- Wash your hands completely with soap and water.