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Universal Precautions 101

Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure

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What are bloodborne pathogens?

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Microorganisms carried by human blood and body fluids
Can be spread through contact with infected blood
Cause infections and illness

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Where are bloodborne pathogens found?

Body fluids containing visible blood
Semen and vaginal secretions
Torn or loose skin
Tears, sweat, nasal secretions

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Bloodborne Pathogens can cause infection by entering your body through:

Open cuts and nicks
Human bite
Skin abrasions
Mucous membranes of your mouth, eyes, or nose

Caregivers should take extra caution while working with persons with disabilities. Some individuals might be more:

Vulnerable to injury
Likely to have special medical needs
Dependent on adults for personal care

The most common bloodborne pathogens are:


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HIV is transmitted indirectly by touching or working around people who are HIV positive.

Facts About HIV

Transmitted by direct contact with body fluids
Not spread through air, saliva, tears, or sweat
Does not live long outside the human body
More than 1.2 million people are living with HIV infection
About 1:8 are unaware of their infection


Hepatitis B

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Hepatitis is a general term used to describe inflammation (swelling) of the liver.

Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is . . .

Transmitted primarily through sexual contact
Transmitted through direct contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluid
100 times more contagious than HIV
Able to survive on surfaces dried and at room temperature for at least a week
Contaminated surfaces are a major factor in the spread of HBV
1:20 persons now has, or will have , HBV

Transmission of Hepatitis B is preventable:

Use standard precautions in the workplace
Get the HBV vaccination
Do not share needles
Use latex condoms during sex


Hepatitis C

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Facts About Hepatitis C (HCV)

HCV is more common than HBV
Ranks slightly below alcoholism as a cause of liver disease
Not as infectious as HBV
Is spread most commonly through shared needles

There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.

Standard Precautions

  • All blood and potentially infectious materials are treated as if they are infectious, regardless of the perceived status of the source.
  • Treat all blood and body fluids as if they are infected.
  • Personal protective equipment per policy
  • Wear gloves
  • Launder contaminated clothing per policy
  • Hand washing
  • Clean-up per policy
  • Incident report per policy
  • Wash hands and any other potentially contaminated skin area as soon as possible with soap and water
  • Decontamination using a bleach based cleaning solution per policy
  • Waste disposal per policy
  • Wear gloves where it is reasonably anticipated that exposure may occur
  • Food, drink, contact lens, cosmetics, lip balm are not to be handled in areas where there is a reasonable likelihood of exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials
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Exposure Control Plan

  • Each agency is required to have a written plan informing staff of workplace practices as it relates to exposure with potentially infectious material
  • All procedures will minimize splashing, spraying, splattering, and generation of droplets of blood or other potentially infectious materials
  • Each safety and health program should be tailored to fit the agency, to blend with its unique operations and culture, and to help maintain a system that continually addresses workplace hazards
  • The plan should include hazard prevention and control as well as safety and health training, handwashing and education.
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Remember To Use Standard Precautions

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