Guidelines for Healthcare Workers-Protecting Yourself with Standard Precautions
Protect Yourself from Blood borne Pathogens
As a healthcare worker, you may be exposed to germs that come from blood and other body fluids. Such germs, called blood borne pathogens, can make you very sick. By following your facility's guidelines and using standard precautions, you can protect yourself from blood borne pathogens. Read to learn more.
What Are Standard Precautions?
Standard precautions are guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines help prevent the spread of blood borne disease. Some blood borne pathogens cause severe illness, and even death. Use standard precautions at all times, with all patients. This helps protect you and your coworkers from becoming infected.
All healthcare workers who come in contact with blood and body fluids must protect themselves from blood borne pathogens.
Know How to Stay Safe
Using standard precautions and following your facility's guidelines will help keep you safe at work. This booklet will teach you: •Which blood borne pathogens you should be most aware of. Knowing how to protect yourself from these germs can help keep you, and people around you, from becoming sick. •When and how to wash your hands. Proper hand washing is one of the best ways to keep blood borne pathogens (and other germs) from spreading. •How to safely handle used sharps (needles or other sharp objects). This will reduce your chances of being exposed to blood borne pathogens. •How wearing gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) can protect you from blood borne pathogens. •How to clean and dispose of contaminated items such as soiled laundry, used equipment, and anything else that touches a patient. •What to do if you are exposed to blood or other body fluids. Also, know where to find your facility's exposure control plan (the guidelines you must follow if you have an exposure). •For more information, read on.
What Are Blood borne Pathogens?
Blood or other body fluids can contain pathogens (germs) that cause disease. These germs can infect you. You can also spread these germs to others, including your loved ones. Some blood borne pathogens cause severe, even fatal, illness.
How Blood borne Pathogens Spread
Blood borne pathogens can spread through blood or OPIM (other potentially infectious materials). Examples of OPIM include amniotic fluid, body tissues, and spinal fluid.* Blood borne germs can enter your body if infected blood or OPIM touches any body opening or break in your skin. This includes your eyes, nose, and mouth. (Acne, Hangnails, Rashes, Cuts, Dry Skin). Disease-carrying blood or body fluids can enter your body through any opening in your skin. If they do, you may become infected.
Blood borne Diseases You Should Know About
Many diseases can be spread through blood and OPIM. Of these, three of the most dangerous are: •Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
•Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
•Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
Read on to learn more about these viruses and the diseases they cause.
Understanding HIV (human immunodeficiency Virus)
HIV causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). AIDS is a serious illness that makes it harder for the body to fight infection. It can lead to death. If you become infected with HIV, you can then spread the virus to others.
What Is HIV?
HIV is a virus that weakens your immune system (your body's defense against infection). This makes you much more likely to become severely ill, even from diseases that your body would normally be able to fight. Know that: •There's no vaccine for HIV infection.
•Symptoms of HIV infection may appear within 6 weeks after someone becomes exposed. These can include fever, swollen glands, rash, and feeling weak or very tired. Some people have no symptoms. •There's no cure for HIV infection. Someone who is infected with HIV will have...