What You Need to Know About Bloodborne Pathogens
Exposures to blood and other body fluids occur across a wide variety of occupations. Health care workers, emergency response and public safety personnel, and other workers can be exposed to blood through needlesticks and other sharp objects. Workers and employers are urged to take advantage of available work practices to prevent exposure to blood and other body fluids.
Bloodborne pathogens aren’t something you want to mess around with. Improper handling of contaminated objects can have serious consequences. Good news for you is we’re here to help protect you against them. Here are four things you need to know that are key in understanding how to protect yourself next time you’re out on the job.
#1: What are bloodborne pathogens?
Bloodborne pathogens are viruses or bacteria that are carried in blood. They can cause many unwanted diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. For HIV and Hepatitis C there are treatments a patient can undergo, but nothing that will necessarily “cure” them. Unfortunately there is no current cure or specific treatment for Hepatitis B.
#2: Where are they found?
These pathogens are most commonly found on sharp objects or needles. However they also can be found on any object that has come into contact with an infected person’s blood. Think you’re safe because the blood on the object has dried? Think again. The Hepatitis C virus can survive in dried blood up to four days and Hepatitis B can live up to a week.
#3: How they can get passed,
These pathogens can get passed in 2 ways: broken skin and mucous membrane. Having any uncovered open sores or cuts is an open invitation for these pathogens. But it doesn’t stop there. Even when you touch your eyes or nose after handling an infectious object you are susceptible to disease.
#4: How you can prevent it,
Making sure that any exposed skin is covered when handling infected objects can be very beneficial. Also, being sure to wash your hands after working with contaminated items will help stop passing any unwanted germs.
Mishandling materials that contain bloodborne pathogens can have some serious, and sometimes deadly, consequences. Be sure to remember these 4 facts when handling questionable objects in order to keep you and your loved ones safe.