Friday, November 30, 2012

Exposure to Blood: If an Exposure Occurs

What should I do if I am exposed to the blood of a patient?

  1. Immediately following an exposure to blood:
    • Wash needlesticks and cuts with soap and water
    • Flush splashes to the nose, mouth, or skin with water
    • Irrigate eyes with clean water, saline, or sterile irrigants
    • No scientific evidence shows that using antiseptics or squeezing the wound will reduce the risk of transmission of a bloodborne pathogen. Using a caustic agent such as bleach is not recommended.
  2. Report the exposure to the department (e.g., occupational health, infection control) responsible for managing exposures. Prompt reporting is essential because, in some cases, postexposure treatment may be recommended and it should be started as soon as possible. Discuss the possible risks of acquiring HBV, HCV, and HIV and the need for postexposure treatment with the provider managing your exposure. You should have already received hepatitis B vaccine, which is extremely safe and effective in preventing HBV infection.

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