Bloodborne Pathogens Education
Bloodborne pathogens are germs in blood and body fluids that can cause disease in humans. They include the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). HBC and HCV cause hepatitis and HIV causes AIDS. Experts also think that there are other Bloodborne pathogens (germs) that have not yet been identified. These bloodborne germs can also be found in other bodily fluids that have the potential to cause infection such as semen, vaginal secretions, spinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardia) fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, and saliva in dental procedures, and any other body fluids that may or may not be visibly contaminated with blood. In situations where it is hard or impossible to differentiate whether blood or body fluids are present or have the potential to be present, STANDARD PRECAUTIONS must be used.
STANDARD PRECAUTIONS are specific ways to handle all potentially infectious blood and body fluids. It means handling all situations where blood and body fluids may be present as if they are infected with Bloodborne pathogens. These work practice controls are ways to decrease the chance of an exposure to one of these very dangerous germs. Needles MUST NEVER be recapped by a two handed technique. Needles must be disposed of in a puncture resistant container. YOU MUST ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS after contact with ANY blood or body fluids and again AFTER gloves and other personal protective equipment are removed. Food and drink WILL NOT be kept in refrigerators, shelves, or counter tops where blood or other body fluids are present. Specimens containing blood or body fluids MUST BE placed in RED BAGS and containers with the RED ORANGE BIOHAZARD SEAL. Linen is placed in designated fluid resistant bags located on each unit.
Personal protective equipment is available in cabinets in the designated work areas. These cabinets contain gloves, gowns, masks, goggles, and pocket masks. THIS MUST BE WORN when it is likely that you will have contact with blood or body fluids. A phenolic cleaner and disinfectant is also in the cabinet. This is used to clean surfaces that are contaminated with potentially infectious materials.
There is NOT a vaccination for HIV or HCV. A VACCINATION FOR the HEPATITIS B VIRUS (HBV) IS AVAILABLE AT NO COST for those employees who work in an area with potential for an exposure to blood and/or body fluids.
What to do if you have an exposure to blood and/or body fluids:
Immediately wash area with soap and water.
Complete an Employee Injury/Illness Incident report on the computer.
Call the Employee Health and Wellness Dept at ext 2650 and report the incident and schedule post exposure follow-up.
If the incident involves a patient and occurs after hours when Employee Health and Wellness is closed (evenings, weekends, and holidays), contact the House Coordinator or Unit Designee so appropriate follow up is done with the patient.
A copy of the Hospital's Exposure Control Plan as well as the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard is available for your review on the hospital intranet.