The name blood borne illness is a bit misleading, as any disease that can be transmitted through blood can also be transmitted through other bodily fluids. Workers in occupations such as medical professional and crime scene cleaner need to be especially conscious of blood borne illnesses, but exposure can actually affect anyone at practically any time. While blood borne illness is not something to be especially scared of, it is a good idea to know what to do to stay safe in the event that you are exposed to bodily fluids that might be contaminated.
Avoid Contaminated Items
Items that may be contaminated with blood borne illnesses include things like used needles and bandages with blood on them. If you find an item like this laying on the ground, try to dispose of it safely as soon as possible. However, it is not advised that you pick up one of these items without having a disposal plan on hand. Wear gloves and other protective gear when handling the item, and have a trash receptacle that you can throw it in immediately. Don’t dispose of it with regular trash; move it to a dumpster or other secure disposal site immediately.
Don’t Handle Bodily Fluids Without Protection
If someone, especially a stranger or person you know is infected, is sick or injured, take safety precautions before treating them. The CDC recommends wearing a mask and gloves if you feel you might come in contact with bodily fluids. Be sure to wash your hands after any kind of contact with blood. Don’t touch your mouth or face until you have scrubbed your hands with soap, and don’t let fluids come in contact with any cuts or abrasions you might have.
Practice Safe Sex
Since blood borne illnesses can often be transmitted through other bodily fluids, practicing safe sex is still the best way for the average person to protect themselves. Use a condom or other barrier that prevents the transmission of semen during sex for the best level of protection.
Make Sure Needles Are Safe
The vast majority of medical procedures conducted in a hospital or clinic are safe. However, once you leave the safety of a medical professional’s office things can get a little risky. In any procedure that requires the usage of needles, such as tattoos or Botox treatments, make sure that a new needle is being used for each person and the person administering the shot is using protective gear like gloves.
Blood borne illnesses can be quite dangerous, and many still don’t have effective cures. However, with just a few safety precautions you can greatly reduce your risk of exposure and infection.