Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms inside a human’s blood. The infectious pathogens can be transmitted from one person to another by either blood or various bodily fluids.
Unfortunately, the exposure can result in a person contracting HIV or Hepatitis B or C. To successfully care for your health, we are providing the five biggest misconceptions of bloodborne pathogens.
1. The Removal of Personal Protective Clothing
Many people might believe they do not have to wash their hands after removing personal protective clothing, such as latex gloves. This, however, is a big mistake. Gloves can often contain tiny pinholes that are not discernible to the human eye, so could easily transfer bloodborne pathogens onto your skin. For this reason, you must thoroughly scrub your hands with both soap and water once you have removed the gloves or other clothing.
2. Picking Up Contaminated Materials
Many people might believe gloves will protect their body from contamination. Yet, picking up broken glass or sharp items can potentially puncture gloves, which could cause unwanted exposure. You must always pick up materials with tongs, or a brush and dustpan.
3. The Danger of Dried Blood
Do not make the mistake of touching dried blood on a surface, as bloodborne pathogens will still pose a serious threat to your health. You might be surprised to learn that Hepatitis B is capable of living on a surface for up to one week, whilst the C virus can live for more than four days. You should therefore approach dried blood with the same level of caution as fresh blood.
4. The Risk of Blood
Many people may mistakenly believe they are safe from bloodborne pathogens if there was no blood on the scene. Yet, you might be shocked to discover that bloodborne pathogens can still live on a surface in the form of other bodily fluids, which may contain hidden blood. Unfortunately, the bodily fluids can be just as infectious as visible blood.
5. Disposing of Blood
It is rare for most people to come into contact with blood, which is why many people do not know how to correctly dispose of any soiled materials. As a result, they might be tempted to place the bloodied items with their regular garbage, which could pose serious risks to the public.
It is imperative to dispose of materials that may have either blood or bodily fluids on by using biohazard bags or containers, which should be safely handled and transported to an approved facility. For this reason, hire a crime scene cleanup service who can decontaminate and sanitize the area, before safely removing the contaminated items aligned to OSHA and EPA regulations.
There are many rules to follow when handling bloodborne pathogens. Never pick up contaminated materials by hand, wash your hands after wearing protective clothing, and approach both fresh and dried blood with extreme caution. Remember, pathogens can remain on a surface without a trace of blood, and ensure you hire the experts to safely dispose of all contaminated materials.