Bloodborne pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms in human blood that can cause diseases such as hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). If you think you've been exposed to bloodborne pathogens, knowing what to do next is crucial to your health and well being.
BloodBorne Pathogens: 5 Steps to Take if You've Been Exposed
If you think you may have been exposed to bloodborne pathogens, it is important to act quickly to remediate the situation. If you aren’t sure what to do, these 5 steps can help:
- Wash exposed skin, cuts, and needlestick injuries thoroughly with soap and water.
- If you have been splashed by potentially infectious fluids around the eyes, nose or mouth, flush the area with water.
- Immediately report the incident to emergency medical services.
- If the incident occurred at work, immediately report the incident to your supervisor. (You are protected by OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. This document can help you understand your rights).
- Seek an immediate evaluation from a medical professional.
Understanding Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure
Bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted in a number of ways:
- Direct contact occurs when infected body fluid or blood from one individual enters another individual’s body. An example of this would be someone else’s blood splashing into your eye.
- Indirect contact occurs when an object containing the blood or body fluid of an infected person touches someone’s skin.
- Respiratory droplet transmission occurs when an infected person sneezes or coughs and the droplets are inhaled by another person.
Who Is at Risk?
- Health care workers are at a high risk of being exposed to bloodborne pathogens through needlesticks, broken skin that comes into contact with potentially infectious materials, body fluids splashing into eyes, and countless other ways.
- Not everyone who is at risk of becoming exposed to a bloodborne pathogen is a health care worker, however. Anyone who comes into contact with human blood or body fluids is at risk.
Because it is possible that an individual has a bloodborne pathogen without even knowing it, you should treat all human blood and body fluids as if they are infected.
Aftermath is Here to Help
If you find yourself in a situation that feels too big to manage (examples include significant blood spills, unattended death, or industrial accidents), it is best to ask for help from a professional.
Unlike a general purpose cleaning company, Aftermath approaches biohazard remediation with a full scientific process to fully contain, sanitize, and remediate all potential blood-borne pathogens from homes and properties.
The Aftermath Way
To learn more about Aftermath and how we can help you, speak with a representative day or night.