Protect Yourself From Bloodborne Pathogens

Education, Equipment, and More: How to Protect Yourself From Bloodborne Pathogens

Did you know that we make 17 million red blood cells per second? The human body is a fascinating thing, especially when it comes to our literal lifeblood.

But as powerful as it is, blood isn’t always a positive thing to have around. Many diseases are transmitted through exposure to blood, so we need to take the proper precautions when handling other people’s blood. That way, everyone remains safe and healthy.

If you want to learn more, then read on for your quick guide to bloodborne pathogens.

What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms that can cause disease through exposure to not just blood, but also body fluids.

What are the most common bloodborne pathogens? Currently, there are 20 known bloodborne pathogens, but the most common ones are hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Other examples of bloodborne pathogens include syphilis, malaria, and brucellosis.

These bacteria can get in through your mucous membranes (your eyes, nose, and mouth). And if you have any open skin (such as from a scrape, cut, burn, or rash), they can get in through there as well.

How to Protect Yourself From Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens might sound scary, but thankfully, there are several ways you can protect yourself from them. The 2 main methods are education and protective equipment.

Education

They say power is knowledge, and that’s certainly the case here. Plus, ever since 1991, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that if you might be exposed to blood or other infectious materials, you need to get proper bloodborne pathogens training.

These courses are good for 1 year, so you’ll need to keep up annually with training. This will keep you on top of the latest and most effective ways to protect yourself from harmful bacteria. For example, you should dispose of potentially contaminated sharp items in a puncture-resistant container.

It’ll also teach you what to do should you think you’ve had exposure. For instance, you need to wash yourself thoroughly and report to your supervisor. If needed, you’ll be referred to a medical professional who can perform all the appropriate tests and treatments.

Protective Equipment

If you think you might be exposed to someone’s blood, you need to don personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes (but isn’t limited to) gloves, eye goggles, face shields, and lab coats.

You should always check that the PPE isn’t damaged before possible exposure. Never use anything that’s damaged, as all it takes is a small opening for bloodborne pathogens to get through.

Keep Yourself Safe From Bloodborne Pathogens

Now that you know more about bloodborne pathogens, you can better protect yourself against them. With continual training and the right equipment, you’ll have the best chances of remaining uninfected should you be exposed to someone else’s blood.

If you’re interested in reading more health and safety articles, then check out more of our blog page.

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