What is Bloodborne Pathogen and How to Prevent it?

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Key Takeaway

  • Bloodborne pathogens are diseases that spread due to the contamination of the blood with microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.
  • Hepatitis B is an infectious disease that affects the liver and can be transmitted from an infected person through blood or other bodily fluids.
  • If acute hepatitis is left untreated, the virus can result in chronic infections, which can cause liver damage, liver cancer, and cirrhosis.
  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the CD4 cells that help infectious agents, weakening the body's ability to fight infection.
  • Practice proper hand hygiene by washing hands after any potential exposure to blood
  • Occupational exposure to disease-causing microorganisms is a hazard for healthcare workers, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, tattoo artists, and cleaning/janitorial staff.
  • Developing a protocol to reduce occupational exposure is important for employees' safety and the prevention of the spread of disease in humans.
  • Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is an important way to prevent infection, especially when contacting human body fluids.
  • A person giving first aid should follow necessary universal precautions to avoid transmitting infections in a patient's body during an emergency.

Contents

Bloodborne pathogens are diseases that spread due to the contamination of the blood with microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. For example, malaria, syphilis, tuberculosis HIV, and hepatitis is severe consequences of these Bloodborne infections. With first aid, you can save a life by taking some immediate necessary steps.

 

What are the Common Bloodborne Pathogens?

 

Hepatitis B virus

Hepatitis B is an infectious disease that affects the liver and can be transmitted from an infected person through blood or other bodily fluids. According to the World Health Organization, 257 million people were living with the hepatitis B virus in 2015. Of these, 887,000 lost their lives to the virus.

Hepatitis B can be transmitted through infected blood or other bodily fluids. It can also be passed from a mother to a child during childbirth. The virus can also be contracted through sharing needles or other sharp objects.

 

Hepatitis C virus

Hepatitis C is a virus that causes severe liver infections. The bloodborne infection can lead to acute hepatitis, a short-term illness, or chronic infection, a long-term illness. Acute hepatitis C infection occurs within six months of exposure to the virus. If acute hepatitis is left untreated, the virus can result in chronic infections, which can cause liver damage, liver cancer, and cirrhosis.

The acute hepatitis C infection symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing of eyes and skin,
  • Feeling tired
  • Joint pain
  • Light-colored stool
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting.

 

The symptoms only occur at the acute stage of the illness. For example, persons with chronic hepatitis C infection may experience fatigue and depression.

 

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the CD4 cells that help infectious agents, weakening the body's ability to fight infection. The virus can remain in the system without showing symptoms. The symptoms of HIV disease only start appearing at the AIDS stage. Like other bloodborne pathogens, HIV is transmitted through contact with body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, and blood from infected persons. Most people contract HIV through unprotected sex with infected persons.

 

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How Bloodborne Pathogens are Transmitted?

Bloodborne diseases are generally transmitted by direct contact, but other causes include transmission by any insect or a sexual interaction without any preventive measures taken or by the use of drugs.

Percutaneous injuries can transmit these Bloodborne pathogens from needles or other sharp objects or by contact with mucous membranes or injured skin with blood or other infectious body fluids.

 

How to Prevent Having Contact with Blood and Infectious Materials?

To avoid contact with blood, bodily fluids, and other infectious materials:

  • Use rescue breathing equipment, including bag valve masks and other resuscitation masks, when giving rescue breaths during CPR.
  • Cover up sores, cuts, and scrapes, removing rings and other jewelry before donning protective gloves.
  • Other protective coverings are recommended, as blood or body fluid can splash easily, including eyewear lab gowns and masks.
  • Change out protective gear before attending to a separate victim.
  • Remove protective equipment without contacting soiled areas, and dispose of it carefully in the proper container for storage.

 

You can never wash your hands too much, particularly after caring for a victim. Instead, use hot water, soap, and hand sanitizer where hand-washing facilities are unavailable, particularly if you've come in contact with bodily fluids.

 

How to Reduce the Risk of Occupational Exposure

Occupational exposure to disease-causing microorganisms is a hazard for health care workers, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, tattoo artists, and cleaning/janitorial staff. To reduce this hazard, bloodborne pathogens training courses are essential. These courses typically have no minimum qualifications or training requirements, and anyone can register for them.

Developing a protocol to reduce the risk of bloodborne pathogen exposure in the workplace is important for the safety of employees and the prevention of the spread of disease. There are a few key steps that you should take to reduce exposure:

1. Use Sharps disposal containers for needles - particularly important for health professionals at a higher risk of exposure.

2. Dispose of soiled clothing in marked plastic sealed bags - this will ensure that the clothing is properly cleaned or disposed of.

3. Use bio-hazard bags to dispose of contaminated gloves, bandages, dressings, etc. you should clearly label these bags with a bio-hazard warning.

4. Disinfect and clean all equipment and surfaces in the workplace that have been contaminated with blood or bodily fluids. An approved and professional disinfectant should be used where possible. You should scrub all leather and absorbent materials with a brush and hot water.

5. Practice proper hand hygiene by washing hands after any exposure to blood

 

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Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is an important way to prevent infection, especially when contacting human body fluids. All body fluids, including pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, peritoneal fluid, synovial fluid, and other blood-containing fluids, have the potential to be infectious.

The proper use of PPE is also covered in training courses. Certain precautions should be taken, such as removing rings and jewelry before putting on gloves. First responders should also cover any sores or cuts before donning gloves. Additionally, all of these precautions, and more, are covered under bloodborne pathogen training.

 

Universal Precautions

A person giving first aid should follow necessary universal precautions to avoid transmitting infections in a patient's body during an emergency. One has to reduce the exposure to himself and the patient by wearing gloves on hands, splash goggles for eyes, and pocket mouth-to-mouth resuscitation masks.

If you are exposed, wash your area thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water. If your mucous membrane is exposed to the blood, flush your mouth, nose, and eyes with water for 15 minutes. In the case of exposure, one should also report the supervisor about it; you should fill out the disclosure reporting form.

 

While treating a patient few rules are of vital importance for both personal and patient safety:

  • Always consider all blood or body fluids potentially infectious and treat them like contaminated ones.
  • During a situation of exposure, always use personal protective equipment.
  • Don't use PPE if it is torn or punctured, even if it is very slight.
  • Always remove PPE before leaving the work area.
  • Disinfect your used PPE and dispose of them properly.
  • Always wash hands with antibacterial soap and after the use of PPE.
  • Use gloves made of impervious material, and don't touch them from the outside.
  • Remove contaminated clothes as soon as possible.
  • Don't eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics, lip balms, or contact lenses during
  • Always sterilize and properly disinfect other instruments with approved disinfectants immediately after exposure.
  • Dispose of needles of injections properly to avoid any future use.
  • Always follow your company's exposure control plan.

 

Steps to Take When Exposed to Bloodborne Pathogens

Specified emergency procedures apply to individuals exposed to bloodborne pathogens. If you have exposure to blood or human body fluids:

1. Immediately wash the exposed area with soap and water.

2. Flush the mucus membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth) with water for at least 15 minutes.

3. Apply a disinfectant to the exposed area.

4. Seek medical attention as soon as possible and inform your supervisor.

 

Under the current OSHA regulations, employers are required to have an Exposure Control Plan in place. This written program outlines the employer's measures to minimize or eliminate employee exposure incidents. The Exposure Control Plan should be made available to employees during Bloodborne pathogen training and certification courses or to any employee who potentially risks such exposure. In addition, the Exposure Control Plan should include a specific plan explaining the course of action to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

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Precautions Healthcare Workers Should Take While Giving CPR to a COVID-19 Patient

Why is BBP Training Important?

Bloodborne Pathogen Training Course will provide you with in-depth knowledge of the different types of bloodborne pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and other infectious materials. In addition, you will learn how these pathogens spread through human blood and body fluids and how to reduce your risk of exposure in an occupational setting. Our course will also discuss the different entry sites for these viruses and bacteria and how to protect yourself from infected body fluids.

 

Conclusion

Bloodborne pathogens are contagious and can be easily spread, especially for health care workers. For example, it is estimated that 20 million people globally acquire HBV infections from medical injections yearly. Large outbreaks can result in thousands of people requiring testing for hepatitis. The greatest risk lies with health care professionals and related occupations (first responders, nurses, etc.).

 

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