Let’s face it. Bloodborne pathogens and the threat they pose to the human population aren’t anything new. Nevertheless, the threat of long-term complications that are associated with the contraction of bloodborne diseases shouldn’t be ignored.

While the CDC estimates that over 5 million healthcare workers and those in related fields are at risk for contracting bloodborne disease, the truth is that many, if not all, people who work in close quarters are at risk for contracting a bloodborne illness at some point in time.

The reason? At a moment’s notice, a co-worker, boss or another person in your general vicinity on the job could incur an injury, become sick or secrete bodily fluids. While not the most pleasant thought, you have the potential for coming into contact with such fluids, especially if the situation is dire and you may need to help.

Thinking you’ll just avoid the situation when the opportunity to come in contact with bio-hazardous fluids presents itself? You may, but some accidents can happen close to you and you may inadvertently find bio-hazardous fluids haphazardly flying into your eyes, nose, ears or mouth. Though you may think, “That’ll never happen to me”, in reality we are all at risk, especially at work, for coming into contact, either directly or indirectly, with bloodborne pathogens that can cause serious disease.

Bloodborne Pathogens and Illness

It is well-known that bloodborne pathogens can enter the human body and cause a variety of complications, including lifelong illness. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms that crop up alongside the acquisition of such pathogens are rarely short-term.

As a result, the challenges associated with coming into contact with these disease-causing germs in the blood aren’t to be taken lightly. Add to this the fact that you will, in most cases, never be able to determine who does or does not have a bloodborne illness, and the risks multiply.

Although there are many bloodborne illnesses caused by contact with pathogens, some of the most prevalent include:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Syphilis
  • Malaria
  • Brucellosis

Though commonly thought to be most prevalent amongst drug users, medical workers and those living alternate lifestyles, bloodborne illnesses pose a threat to the entire human population, now more than ever.

Drastic Measures

Sometimes, even in the workplace, drastic times cause drastic measures.

While most know that gloves are necessary for handling blood, urine, vomit, feces and other bio-hazardous material, the reality is that what you “should” do might fall by the wayside if it is your co-worker, boss, or even your best friend, that is in need of help.

Before jumping in and handling the situation yourself, your best bet is always to call for emergency help. But sometimes, time is of the essence and a person might need immediate assistance. So, what do you do?

First and foremost, always check the scene to ensure that it is safe. You won’t do anyone any good if you become injured yourself, so make sure the situation is secure before descending on the scene.

If there are bodily fluids involved and the situation is urgent, such as in the case of major blood loss, you will need to put on the proper protective equipment. This includes gloves at the very least, but can also include goggles, an apron, shoe covers and more.

As you are awaiting a response from emergency personnel, be sure to steer clear of touching your eyes, nose, ears or mouth after assisting in a bio-hazardous situation. In compliance with CDC guidelines, always aim to wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, and maybe even long if your hands are particularly soiled.

Professional Undertakings

If there is a large amount of blood, vomit or other bio-hazardous fluid that has permeated a section of your workplace, don’t attempt to clean up alone. This is especially true if you don’t have access to the proper protective safety gear, such as those mentioned in the previous segment.

Remember, bloodborne pathogens can cause lifelong illness and the handling of bio-hazardous material, especially in large amounts, can put you at extreme risk for contracting a serious illness or disease.

Instead, we recommend you seek out a well-trained and reputable cleaning company to handle the job for you. Doing so can give you peace of mind, knowing you’ve hired a professional that has the equipment, cleaning agents and training needed to clean affected areas properly and completely.

Always Approach Bio-Hazardous Materials With Sobriety and Caution

To conclude, although bloodborne pathogens and their risks aren’t exactly novel concepts, the hazards associated with bloodborne germs are too dire to ignore. It isn’t just workers in the medical field or those immersed in drug culture that are threatened with the risk of contracting a bloodborne illness. Because it is impossible to know who is or isn’t already infected, one must take added precaution, especially when dealing with or handling bodily fluids.

Therefore, when urgent situations arise, workers should be sure to always contact emergency personnel and cleaning professionals to handle bio-hazardous material in large amounts in order to adequately decrease the risk of infection.