Learning that you or a loved one has a bloodborne disease is difficult enough.
But sometimes, the transition afterward can be even tougher.
After all, if you or someone you live with has a bloodborne disease, there’s a higher chance other residents and guests will be infected.
However, this shouldn’t stop you from living your life. While adjusting to a new lifestyle can be difficult, knowing what you should do in the first place can offer a huge sense of security.
Not only that, but it will better ensure that every resident in your home is safe from additional infection and disease. Extra sanitation measures and bloodborne pathogens training will still let you live in comfort and relative peace.
So keep reading for the top seven ways to prevent bloodborne pathogens from spreading at home. Afterward, you’ll be ready to better prevent pathogens from endangering your home.
What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?
A pathogen is an infectious microorganism that causes disease. There are five main types of pathogens, including viruses, fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and worms. Most diseases are commonly caused by viral and/or bacterial infections.
Bloodborne pathogens are pathogens in human blood. Common bloodborne pathogens include:
- Human immunodeficiency (HIV)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Hepatitis C (HCV)
How do Bloodborne Pathogens Spread?
For bloodborne pathogens to spread, an infected person’s bodily fluids must enter someone else’s bloodstream. There are four main ways bloodborne pathogens spread from person to person. Such methods include:
- Indirect contact: When an infected person’s bodily fluids contaminate a surface that a future person comes in contact with.
- Includes — unwashed hands, unwashed medical equipment, contaminated protective clothing
- For reference, HBV can survive up to a week on a dried surface
- Direct contact: When an infected person’s bodily fluids enter another person’s body through direct contact.
- Includes — unprotected sex, kissing
- Respiratory droplet transmission: When an infected person exhales contaminated bodily fluids. Then, another person inhales those bodily fluids.
- Includes — sneezing, coughing
- Vector-borne transmission: When a previously uninfected person is pierced/bitten by blood-feeding arthropods who fed on infected blood
- Includes — bites from ticks carrying Lyme disease, mosquitoes carrying malaria
As demonstrated, there are many ways for bloodborne pathogens to spread. Even everyday interactions can create serious health conditions without proper sanitation measures. That’s why it’s vital for every member of the public to do their part in reducing the transmission of these bloodborne pathogens.
1. Universal Precautions
One of the best and most consistent ways to prevent infection is by exercising the Universal Precautions approach. While worrying about bloodborne pathogens should not stunt the quality of your life, it’s important to always err on the side of caution.
This means acting as if everyone around you is infected. Even if you know this isn’t true, you also don’t know for sure who is and isn’t infected.
Being a little too cautious is certainly better than not being cautious enough. It will quicken your reaction time should anything happen and will better ensure that infections don’t happen in the first place. You might even prevent an infection or two without knowing.
2. Protective Equipment
If you’re going to participate in an activity that will potentially expose you to bloodborne pathogens, wear protective equipment. Such equipment includes:
- Latex gloves
- Latex gowns
- Face shield
- Eye goggles
- Pocket mask
It’s important to cover any vulnerable and exposed areas of your skin. Passageways through the mouth, nose, and eyes are also susceptible to bloodborne infection.
They’re why it’s important to be fully protected while performing activities that expose you to bloodborne pathogens. This way, you can protect yourself from nearly all methods of transmission.
Not only that, but it’s important that your protective clothing fits you properly. Otherwise, you may be too uncomfortable to carry out your duties effectively. That, or loose-fitting clothing might slip down and expose your skin, rendering you more unprotected than you intended to be.
Proper sanitation measures will significantly reduce the chances of indirect contact transmission. By decontaminating potentially infected surfaces, you remove all bodily fluids. Doing so prevents anyone else from getting infected from contaminated surfaces.
If you’re wondering what the best sanitation practices are, start with a great cleaning solution and protective clothing. After all, the pathogen is still a threat to you if you come in contact with it while cleaning.
An easy cleaning solution is a 10:1 bleach: water solution. While too much bleach can be too harsh against people’s skin and other surfaces, using some of it can easily eradicate many surface-ridden pathogens.
After that, it’s just a matter of improving your housekeeping schedule. With an increased risk of bloodborne pathogens, it’s best to clean more often to ensure that pathogens don’t contaminate surfaces for very long.
You’ll also need to be extra careful when facilitating common sanitation measures. When picking up broken glass, you must wear gloves to prevent cuts and scrapes. You may also need to designate a separate trash bin for biohazard waste, whose disposal you must handle with the utmost care.
4. Cleaning Protective Equipment
After cleaning, it’s essential that you disinfect the protective equipment you’re wearing. Since it shielded your body from coming in contact with pathogens, there’s a good chance there are pathogens on your protective clothing.
Not cleaning them right afterward could render your prevention tactics moot. If you lay your protective equipment/clothing on a surface, you contaminate that surface as well. In neglecting post-sanitation sanitation, you create more problems than you fixed.
Throw away disposable equipment such as masks, gloves, disposable gowns, etc. For some reusable items, it’s best to immediately wash them afterward and let them dry. Such items include goggles and face shields, which should be wiped with a mild detergent.
The exterior of this equipment should be wiped with a detergent and a disinfectant. Make sure everything is completely air-dried before reusing.
For items that need laundering, it’s best to wash them with the warmest water setting and laundry detergent. They should also be dried in the hottest setting.
5. Personal Hygiene
Everyday personal hygiene tactics are essential for consistent protective maintenance. Breeding a culture of community responsibility when it comes to health will better ensure that everyone’s doing their part to prevent infection, every day. So even at home, it’s best to instruct roommates and/or family on proper sanitation measures for the sake of everyone’s health.
Some methods, such as handwashing, may seem obvious. But in facilities where bloodborne pathogens pose a significant risk, all building occupants must wash their hands much more diligently. If hand washing isn’t available, it’s best to carry around antiseptic cleansers and towelettes and wash your hands with soap and water as soon as possible.
It’s also best to not share any topical products/cosmetics. This includes lip balms, lip cosmetic products, toothpaste, and more. You might have broken skin without realizing it, making it much easier for pathogens to enter your bloodstream.
6. Have a Plan
Implementing every measure possible will reduce your chance of infection. But it doesn’t completely eliminate it. Not only that, but it’s near impossible to achieve perfect sanitation.
Because of this, it’s best to have a plan in the case of a medical emergency. Here, a medical emergency is defined as any event that involves exposure of bodily fluids between two persons. Once again, this exposure can happen through eye, nose, mouth, and/or skin contact.
Even if neither person expresses blatant medical symptoms, it’s best to be safe than to be sorry. Not only should these persons and the items they touched be completely sanitized, but they should also isolate themselves and call for emergency medical help. Afterward, a physician will continue to advise and instruct these patients with a treatment and exposure plan.
7. Bloodborne Pathogens Training
You might still be worried enough about the transmission of bloodborne pathogens. After all, reading a couple of articles may not instill you with a complete sense of security.
In these cases, it’s best to get your bloodborne pathogens certification. Even if you don’t find a reason to flaunt it to strangers, it will mean you’ve gotten exceptional medical training.
While this training cannot substitute a physician’s job, it’s a great way for the everyday homeowner to protect their home from further inspection. In the case of a medical emergency, you’ll know exactly what to do in response.
Even with no prior medical experience, you can take bloodborne pathogens training to ensure the health and safety of yourself and the people in your home. This way, you’ll always have a plan and an informed focus when carrying out these preventative measures.
Protect Yourself With Bloodborne Pathogens Training
When you find out that you or a loved one is infected with a bloodborne disease, the revelation can be frightening. But with the right knowledge and measures in place, you will have much more confidence when it comes to assessing and responding to major medical risks. So at HIPAA Exams, we provide bloodborne pathogens training for any entity that needs it. We provide many services, including one teaching homeowners how to best prevent disease transmission in their own homes. If that interests you, then read more about our bloodborne pathogens training package today!
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