Blood-borne Pathogens Review Highlights
When you are dealing with body fluids, illnesses, or an injury, politely treat
each person as if they are a carrier of a blood-borne pathogen.
Always wear gloves and other protective barriers for any potential
fluid/blood exposure. Provide the patient with the supplies to do self-care
until you are properly protected.
Dispose of soiled garments, bandages, etc. in a biohazard red bag. Each
classroom will be provided one at the beginning of each year. If you need
more, see the custodian.
A sharps disposal container is located in the health room. Call the custodian
for sharp objects, vomit, and other body/blood fluids for proper clean up.
Use good hand washing technique after exposure, even if you had gloves on.
Report any exposure incident to the principal and nurse immediately, so that
the exposure control plan can be activated. This is very important for your
protection. This should be activated in less than 24 hours. Some potential
interventions are no longer feasible after 24 hours.
If exposed to a blood-borne pathogen I will:
Notify my supervisor immediately, in less than 24 hours.
Give consent for testing of my HBV/HIV status.
Fill out the necessary papers with the school nurse.
Take these papers to the doctor for the medical evaluation.
Receive copies of all results.
My employer will also receive confidential information of these
evaluations for my records.
Receive follow-up evaluations if it is deemed necessary.
Complete any testing or immunizations recommended.
Blood-borne Pathogens for School Staff
Exposure at school to blood-borne pathogens such as Hepatitis B virus,
Hepatitis C virus and Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does occur.
Blood is the single most important source of exposure to these viruses. Your
risk of contracting one of these viruses is low, most likely because your
contact with blood is infrequent.
Blood-borne Pathogens that put you at risk:
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) causes serious liver disease. Symptoms may include
jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, or no
symptoms at all. Most people recover and have no more problems, but some
can become chronically infected. HBV poses a greater risk than either
Hepatitis C or HIV because it is more easily transmitted. There is a vaccine
to prevent HBV infections.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) also causes serious liver disease with symptoms
similar to HBV. According to the CDC, 85% of people infected with HCV
develop chronic infections compared to 10% of people infected with HBV.
People chronically infected with HCV may have no symptoms for 20 years,
yet the disease is silently damaging the liver. HCV is the leading cause for
liver transplants. There is no vaccine to prevent HCV infection.
HIV attacks the immune system causing the patient to be susceptible to
opportunistic infections and cancers. The clinical picture varies widely
between people. Some appear healthy for many years, while others become
seriously ill and develop AIDS. There is no vaccine to prevent HIV.
How blood-borne pathogens are transmitted:
Follow your exposure control plan by using universal precautions while
providing care or first aid to anyone. Consider all body fluids infectious.
Always use barrier protection such as gloves and masks, as needed.
Do not touch the outside of contaminated gloves when removing them.
Discard used gloves and saturated/caked materials in biohazard bags.
Wash your hands and other skin surfaces immediately after contact
with body fluids, even if you wore gloves. Use soap, water and friction
for at least 15 seconds.
Disinfect contaminated surfaces with appropriate germicidal agent.
Use equipment, not hands to pick up broken glass or sharps. Dispose
of these items in a sharps container.
Use a barrier (face shield) for resuscitation. (In the health room).
Handling Risky Situations:
Although infrequent, risky situations do occur in the school setting.
Accidents, playground scrapes, fights, bloody noses and athletic injuries are
not uncommon. Use universal precautions for all first aid emergencies.
Emergency First Aid:
When rendering aid to a bleeding student or co-worker, encourage them to
administer their own first aid if possible. You may have only to offer
supplies, turn faucets on and off, etc. If you need to provide direct
assistance, wear gloves or use another barrier. Remember to dispose of all
contaminated materials, the barriers used, and then wash your hands well.
Bloody nose: Students with a bloody nose should sit up with their heads
tilted forward. Have them firmly pinch their nostrils for 5 minutes to stop
the bleeding, and give them a tissue to absorb blood under their nose. After
the bleeding has stopped, remind them not to sniff, blow or rub their nose,
as this may cause the clot to be dislodged and bleeding to recur. Dispose of
contaminated materials, and you and the patient wash hands well.
Athletic injuries: Athletes must cover any existing cuts or scrapes before
competing. Any athlete injured while competing must stop, have the area
cleansed and bandaged securely before resuming play. Any contaminated
equipment or surfaces should be cleaned until all visible blood is gone, then
disinfected with an appropriate germicide (available from the custodian).
The area should be allowed to dry for 10 minutes. A bleach solution diluted 1
part bleach to 10 parts water, prepared within the last 24 hours, is an
inexpensive, effective disinfectant.
Bites: If anyone is bitten, immediately wash the area with soap and water.
Complete the appropriate forms and notify administration and the school
nurse. If the bite was inflicted by an animal, attempt to secure the animal
for observation, if you can do so safely.
Syringes and needles: Any students using these supplies need to dispose
of them in the appropriate sharps container in the health room.
Body Fluids: Wear gloves when dealing with any body fluids. Contact
custodial staff for clean up when needed.
Exposure Procedure: If you are exposed to any body fluids, immediately
wash the affected skin with soap and water. If the exposure was to your
eye, flush them with copious amounts of water. Report the exposure to the
office immediately. Remember, most exposures do not result in infection.
Blood-borne Pathogens Quiz
1. True False Blood is the single most important source of HIV, HBV and
HCV in the workplace.
2. True False HIV poses a greater risk to school staff than HBV or HCV.
3. True False There is a vaccine to prevent HBV.
4. True False Most people with HCV become chronically infected.
5. True False Most people with HIV display the same symptoms.
6. True False HBV, HCV and HIV are easily spread via saliva.
7. True False You cannot be exposed to these viruses if you are only
splashed in the eye with a body fluid.
8. True False While caring for an injured student, you only need to wear
gloves if you see blood.
9. True False You don’t need to wash your hands after removing gloves
that are not contaminated.
10. True False You should wash your hands for at least 15 seconds.
11. True False You do not need to apply gloves and a face shield while
doing CPR on someone you know.
12. True False You always need to apply pressure to a bleeding wound.
13. True False A bleach solution of 1:20 is a good germicidal agent.
14. True False You don’t need to report exposures to body fluids at work.
15. True False Most exposures result in some type of infection.