3 Common Bloodborne Pathogens
Bloodborne Pathogens are harmful microorganisms in human blood or some other bodily fluids like semen and vaginal secretions, which can cause diseases when transmitted from an infected person to another. Normally, these microorganisms enter the body through mucous membranes, needle sticks and breaks in the skin. The most common Bloodborne Pathogens are:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C and
- AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by hepatitis B virus. It is a dangerous Bloodborne Pathogen that causes inflammation of the liver. If your job requires you to get exposed to blood or some other potentially infectious material, you are more susceptible to acquire those infectious agents.
Hepatitis C is also a liver disease. It is caused by the Hepatitis C virus and is the most common bloodborne infection in the U.S. Direct repeated exposure to blood is the major reason for getting infection. The problem is very serious, as there is no vaccine discovered yet to protect against hepatitis C.
AIDS is a deadly disease caused by a life threatening Bloodborne Pathogen called HIV. When the infected body substance enters into the bloodstream of another person, it causes the disease.
Precautionary Measures To Protect Yourself From Exposure To Bloodborne Pathogens
If you are a physician, assistant to a physician, nurse or any other health care employee, the chances are more to get exposed to infectious materials. Many other jobs including tissue bank personnel, housekeepers in health care institutions, employees offering emergency first aid, dentists, dental lab technicians HIV research laboratory workers and employees handling regulated waster are also vulnerable to Bloodborne Pathogen exposure. Hence, preventative measures are mandatory to protect from exposure to infectious materials.
- Training And Education- the best way to protect yourself from Bloodborne Pathogen exposure is to receive sufficient training and education about them. You also need to be aware of the activities that would put you at risk and ways to prevent disease transmission.
- Controls- It is important to exercise engineering controls to prevent, separate and/or eliminate infectious materials from the workplace. Proper work practices like restricting drinking, eating, smoking and handling contact lenses should be followed in work areas, where the chances of exposure exists.
- Personal Protective Measures- Universal precautionary methods should be undertaken to prevent infection by treating as if all human blood and bodily fluids were infected. Wearing protective gloves that are puncture resistant and personal protective clothing are crucial to prevent exposure to infectious substance.
- Post Exposure Measures-If you come to contact with infectious blood and/or bodily fluids, you need to inform it to the higher official immediately. Measures should be taken to reduce the risk of infection and transmission.
- Vaccination- You need to receive Hepatitis B vaccination series, if you have occupational exposure to blood or other infectious body fluids. After completing the vaccination series, you need to go through evaluation and follow up procedures for hepatitis B antibodies.
Following proper practices and taking some precautionary measures can help you protect yourself from exposure to infectious substance and reduce the likelihood of getting life threatening diseases.
HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act) exams offer comprehensive Bloodborne Pathogens training to employees who come in contact with blood and other bodily fluids.