Protecting Yourself From Bloodborne Pathogens
As a healthcare worker, you are at risk for blood-borne pathogens and needlestick injury. It’s important to know how to protect yourself while attending to your duties.
It’s useful to know that these pathogens cannot live outside the human body for very long. However, they can survive in discarded body fluids for several days. The organisms can then enter the body via mucus membranes or any break in the skin.
There are several ways to protect yourself:
- Assume the worst. Always assume that any body fluids contain pathogens that could infect you, unless proven otherwise.
- Observe proper hand-washing procedures. For example, wash hands with warm water and soap. Dry with a paper towel.
- Make sure the environment is safe for you before helping an injured patient.
- Adhere to universal precautions by wearing the correct protective equipment when exposed. For instance, gloves, goggles and CPR mouth shields.
- Wash hands before eating or drinking.
- Don’t throw biohazardous waste in ordinary rubbish bins
- Observe proper housekeeping procedures such as wiping down contaminated surfaces regularly with the correct disinfectant.
- If cleaning up broken glass, never handle it with your hands but use forceps or broom and dustpan. Remember that broken glass can easily pierce gloves.