In the healthcare setting, caregivers may contact bloodborne pathogens (BBP) through sneezing, coughing, open cuts or wounds, or by handling contaminated materials or surfaces. For this reason, all bodily fluids should be treated as if they are infectious. The protocol for dealing with such is called “universal precautions.”
- Use protective barriers (gloves, face mask) whenever there is a possibility of exposure to blood or body fluids.
- Report all BBP exposures to a supervisor.
- Wash hands and affected areas immediately following contact with BBP.
To reduce the risk of exposure in the facility:
- Use a biohazard bag to dispose of contaminated materials such as used gloves. “Biohazard” warning labels must be placed on any container holding contaminated materials.
- Use SHARPS disposal containers for used needles and other medical tools.
- Clean and disinfect all equipment and work surfaces using a 10% bleach/water solution.
What to do following an exposure:
- Wash any cuts or exposed skin thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Report the incident promptly.
- Properly wash contaminated clothing and dispose of gloves that were worn during contact with the infected individual.