Bloodborne Pathogens: If You’re Exposed
DISEASES AND CONDITIONS

Bloodborne Pathogens: If You’re Exposed

June 01, 2018

Bloodborne Pathogens: If You're Exposed

Bloodborne pathogens are disease-causing germs carried in blood or other body fluids. If blood or body fluids have touched your eyes, mouth, nose, or any other opening or break in your skin, you've been involved in an exposure incident. If you think or know that this has happened, stay calm. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, or an antiseptic. Areas such as the eyes or nose should be flushed with large amounts of water. Then report the exposure to your supervisor right away.

Report it right away

As soon as you are done washing, tell your supervisor:

  • How, when, and where the accident happened.

  • Whose blood or body fluids came into contact with you. If you're not sure, just describe exactly what happened.

Seek medical attention

If you've been involved in an exposure incident, seek medical attention right away:

  • A healthcare provider will give you the right testing, care, and education. You can decide if you want your blood tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. If you want to be tested, your employer will provide for testing and, if needed, medical referrals.

  • In the end, whether you get tested and treated is up to you. Do what you think is best for your health and future.

  • Vaccinations or other medicines may help keep you from getting infected by certain germs. The shots must be given right away after exposure. Ask a healthcare provider about them.

Updated:  

June 01, 2018

Sources:  

Kuhar, DT. Updated US Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. 2013; 34(9):875-892, Management of healthcare personnel exposed to HIV. UpToDate, Prevention of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection among healthcare providers. UpToDate

Reviewed By:  

Adler, Liora C, MD,Finke, Amy, RN, BSN