Bloodborne Pathogens Online Handbook - Lesson Two
Advanced Medical Certification

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Act When you Come into Contact with Blood

If blood comes into contact with any body surface or even with your PPE, act quickly. As careful as you are in following all proactive measures to prevent exposure, there may be times when contact with blood is unavoidable. This section will teach you how to respond in times when blood does come into contact with a bodily surface.

Immediate action is essential for direct exposure to mucous membranes

  1. Remove your gloves.
  2. Wash hands and all exposed skin.
  3. Use generous amounts of water to rinse mucous membranes.
  4. Report the incident.
  5. Follow through with your employer’s protocols.

Figure 5

How do you remove gloves properly?

Removing gloves is not as simple as it sounds. Follow these steps to remove gloves without touching the dirty side to your skin.

  1. Grip the outside of one glove near the wrist (Figure 5a).
  2. Pull upward slightly until the glove comes off smoothly (inside out).
  3. Cup the old glove in the hand with the remaining glove still on. Using your clean hand, slide your fingers beneath the surface of the glove near the wrist (Figure 5b).
  4. Peel the glove towards your fingers, encasing the first glove in it (Figure 5c).
  5. Dispose of the contaminated gloves properly, such as in a biohazard bag or in a plastic bag to
    seal the hazard until placement in an appropriate biohazard container.
  6. Wash your hands.

What about sharps disposal?

Sharp items, such as needles, lancets, and any object used to pierce the skin, are another potential source for exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Disposal of sharps should always be made in a puncture-resistant sharps container (Figure 6). Typically, such containers have the biohazard symbol and the word “sharps.”

Who can come into contact with sharps?

Anywhere a sharps container is present, there is the possibility of coming into contact with sharp objects. Disposal workers, sanitation and janitorial employees, and everyone who is present where that container is housed are at risk of coming into contact with sharps. Anyone handling sharps should discard them appropriately immediately after use to reduce risk of direct contact.

Recapping needles is not acceptable!

A health facility can be fined if an employee recaps sharps. Sharps are designed to be recapping proof, so adhere to the proper protocol.

Figure 6

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