Unless you’ve lived a particularly sheltered existence, you’ve somewhat of a basic understanding that exposure to blood and other bodily fluids can present some sort of health risk. You probably realize that is because another person’s blood and bodily fluids can contain what routinely are called germs, un-seeable particles that cause diseases. In fact, blood can contain what are known as pathogens, which do present a risk of causing disease in humans – even serious and potentially fatal illnesses. This leaves us with the important question of: what are blood pathogens?
Basic Definition of Blood Pathogens
Blood pathogens are biological substances that have the capacity for causing disease in humans. Blood pathogens most commonly are in the form of viruses and bacteria. The most common types of blood pathogens that people can be exposed to include:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
How is Disease Transferred Via Blood Pathogens?
Disease is transferred via blood pathogens by direct contact. For example, if blood infected with HIV is present on a surface of some sort, the virus can remain alive and viable for a period of time. The MRSA bacteria can survive for quite a significant period of time in contaminated blood that ends up on a surface.
If a person comes into contact with blood contaminated with a pathogen, that virus or bacteria can be transferred into that individual’s system through a cut, abrasion, or sore. In addition, it is also possible in some circumstances for a blood pathogen to be transferred to another individual if it comes into contact with a mucus membrane.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From Blood Pathogens
The only sure way to avoid exposure to dangerous blood pathogens is to avoid contact with someone else’s blood in the first instance. Unfortunately, situations can arise when larger amounts of blood end up being present in a home or business. The presence of blood in this manner constitutes what technically is known as a biohazardous situation.
The recommendation is that when a large amount of blood is contaminating an area in a residence or business, professional assistance should be retained. A blood cleanup company has the capacity to safely and thoroughly eliminate any hazards associated with a situation that has resulted in the presence of a significant amount of blood, bodily fluids, or even other biohazardous materials.
The most common types of situations that give rise to the potential contamination of a residence or business with blood pathogens include:
- Other types of violent crime
- Attempted suicide
- Unattended death
When it comes to keeping safe from blood pathogens, specific protocols must be followed. These protocols apply during the blood cleanup process. At the heart of keeping safe from blood pathogens during the necessary cleanup process, specific biohazard-rated personal protective equipment must be worn. This equipment needs to include:
- HEPA mask or respirator
- Protective eyewear
Over the course of the longer term, protecting people from blood pathogens in the presence of a blood spill or some situation that resulted in contamination by blood and bodily fluids requires a comprehensive biohazard remediation effort. Blood cleaning is a multifaceted endeavor that includes:
- Cleanup and removal of blood
- Sanitization of the contaminated area
- Deodorization, if necessary
Actual blood cleanup and removal involves eliminating the physical presence of blood, bodily fluids, and other biohazards. All of this matter needs to be placed in a suitable biohazard disposal container. When that is accomplished, the biohazardous waste containers need to be transported to an approved biohazard disposal company. In California, a biohazard disposal company must be duly certified by the state.
Once the cleanup and removal process is completed, the contaminated area is sanitized. The sanitization process is designed to eradicate blood pathogens. Sanitization renders a once contaminated area safe and no longer a threat to the health and wellbeing of humans.
Finally, in some instances, deodorization of the premises may be required as part of the comprehensive biohazard remediation process. For example, if blood contaminates an area as the result of an unattended death, the nature of the human decomposition process can result in an overwhelming stench.
Training for Exposure to Blood Pathogens
A member of the general public should have a basic understanding of the dangers associated with exposure to blood pathogens. This includes an understanding of the complexities and hazards associated with blood cleanup.
Depending on the nature of a business, specific training regarding exposure to blood, bodily fluids, and blood pathogens is important. In such a situation, a business needs to have an appropriately comprehensive training program centered on exposure to blood, bodily fluids, and blood pathogens. Such training should occur on a recurring basis. Indeed, management and employees should be required to participate in refresher programs so that people remain attuned to the dangers of blood pathogens and how to undertake blood cleanup.