Blood. We live because blood provides us with the nutrients and oxygen needed to survive. Blood can also carry dangerous pathogens that have serious and even fatal consequences upon exposure. Because of this very real potential duality, if you encounter a situation involving the need for a blood cleaning service, you need to know when seeking professional assistance from a blood cleaning company is necessary.
Professional Blood Cleanup Test
Apply this simple test when determining whether or not you require the services of a blood cleaning company:
If the blood that needs to be cleaned up consists of an amount larger than a dinner plate seek professional assistance.
Keep this important warning in mind:
Even if you are faced with cleaning up a small amount of blood, you must follow the safety procedures and utilize the personal protective gear which is discussed in a moment. (The only exception is if you are cleaning up your own blood following some sort of minor mishap.)
What Specific Situations Require a Blood Cleaning Company?
Keeping in mind the “professional blood cleanup test” just referenced, there are specific circumstances that demand the intervention of a blood cleaning company. Dangerous pathogens biohazardous pathogens can exist even when only trace amounts of blood are present.
In addition, traumatic situations occur that warrant the intervention of a professional blood cleanup company for your own emotional wellbeing.
The most common situations in which professional biohazard cleanup are needed include the aftermath of:
- Accidental death
- Traumatic injury
- Other types of violent crime
- Unattended death
What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?
The National Institutes of Health defines a bloodborne pathogen as:
A pathogen is something that causes disease. Germs that can cause long-lasting infection in human blood and disease in humans are called bloodborne pathogens.
How do Bloodborne Pathogens Spread?
According to the American Red Cross, bloodborne pathogens spread in one of four different ways:
- Direct contact: Bloodborne pathogens spread through direct contact with infected blood, or other bodily fluids. Pathogens can transfer in this way when a person has direct physical contact with the blood, or other bodily fluid, of an infected individual. Sexual contact is an example of how bloodborne pathogens can spread.
- Indirect contact: A person touches an object that contains contaminated blood. For example, if a person cleans up blood without proper personal protective equipment, and is splashed by the blood, contamination can occur in this manner. The potential for transfer of an infection by a bloodborne pathogen in this manner underscores the necessity of engaging the services of a professional blood cleaning company.
- Respiratory droplet transmission: In this scenario, infected blood is inhaled. This occurs when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets of contaminated blood can be transmitted through this process.
- Vector-borne transmission: Infected or contaminated blood enters into a person’s system via penetration by an infected source. An insect can result in a vector-borne transmission of certain types of bloodborne pathogens. For example, malaria can be transferred via a mosquito bite.
Are Some Bloodborne Pathogens More Dangerous Than Others?
In a word: Yes.
Some bloodborne pathogens are more dangerous than others. In fact, the scale of harm potentially caused by different types of bloodborne pathogens ranges from milder illness to death.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classify biohazards in five levels. Biohazard cleanup typically is concerned with remediating pathogens found in Level Three and Level Four. The problem is until blood or another matter is tested, you have absolutely no way of knowing what types and severity of pathogens may be contained in blood, bodily fluids, or other biological materials. The CDC classification is:
Biohazard Level One: Bacteria and viruses that only result in clinically mild illnesses.
Biohazard Level Two: These pathogens are a bit more difficult to contract, but generally result in clinically mild illnesses.
Biohazard Level Three: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe or fatal illnesses. Vaccines and treatments exist for these pathogens.
Biohazard Level Four: Bacteria and viruses that cause severe to fatal illnesses. There are no vaccines or treatments for diseases caused by these pathogens.
What Are the Most Common Types of Bloodborne Pathogens?
In the United States, there are four different types of dangerous infections that are caused by bloodborne pathogens. These are:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
HIV is a virus that can result in AIDS. Once infected by HIV, and if left untreated, the virus (technically a retrovirus) will attack what is known as CD4 of T cells in the body. These calls are vital in fighting off various diseases and infections. If left untreated, the loss of T cells can reach a point at which a person is diagnosed as having AIDS. The most common method of transmission of HIV in the United States is sexual contact with an infected partner. It can also be transmitted via infected blood, like that found in the aftermath of a traumatic accident or some other event that resulted in a loss of blood.
A vaccine does exist for hepatitis B. Absent being vaccinated, and upon exposure to the virus, a person can experience a liver infection. Hep B is considered an acute illness for most people. What this means is that once exposed and infected, the infection resolves itself. A small number of people develop chronic (or more long term) hep C. A chronic case, left untreated, can result in liver damage.
Hepatitis C also caused liver infection. Left untreated, hep C can cause serious liver damage and even cancer. Many people exhibit no symptoms of this infection. Symptoms may not appear for years and not until significant damage has been done to the liver. There is no vaccination for this type of hepatitis. It is the single most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States. One in 30 Baby Boomers is said to be infected with hep C.
MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This infection results from a strain of staph bacteria that is highly resistant to a variety of different types of antibiotics. In other words, if you end up infected with MRSA, it can prove to be very difficult to treat. Bear in mind that are people who carry the MRSA infection and have no symptoms. They can unknowingly transfer the infection.
What Are the Stages of Blood Cleanup?
A professional blood cleaning company generally uses a process that involves four steps:
The initial stage of blood cleanup, or of any biohazardous remediation, involves that actual cleaning and removal of contamination at the site. This includes the cleanup of:
- Other bodily fluids
- Other biological material
This step in the process also involves addressing items on the premises that have been contaminated by blood, bodily fluids, and other biological materials. Depending on the circumstances, including the location of the contamination, these items very well may include:
- Personal property
These contaminated materials, together with anything disposable used in the cleaning process, must be properly disposed of.
Following the thorough elimination of blood, bodily fluids, other biological matter, and contaminated items, sanitization occurs. The sanitization of the scene requires the use of medical grade chemicals that a professional blood cleaning company can obtain. These sanitization agents are what hospitals utilize to control the spread of dangerous pathogens. They are far stronger than the types of cleaning and antibacterial products you can purchase at the store.
The third stage of the blood cleaning process is deodorization. A professional blood cleaning company utilizes commercial grade deodorizing chemicals and approved equipment for this process. As is the case with sanitization chemicals, these are not items available to you at the local store. The deodorization process cannot be understated, particularly after a situation like an unattended death. Deodorization addresses the seriously negative consequences even a somewhat faint, and yet lingering, the odor can have on a home or place of business:
- Reduce the value of the property
- Render the premises not compatible with wholesome or enjoyable living
- Jeopardize the physical health of occupants
- Jeopardize the emotional or mental health of the occupants.
The ultimate goal of a professional blood cleanup and biohazard remediation company is to restore a home to a habitable condition. If the premises are a place of business, the objective is to ensure that the property is fully usable going forward.
Prompt intervention by a blood cleanup company lessens the damage to a home and limits the potential exposure from biohazards. In addition, the day may come when you want to sell your home. The failure to obtain professional blood cleaning assistance may have the ultimate outcome of lowering the market value of your residence.
What Are “Universal Precautions” for Preventing the Spread of Bloodborne Pathogens?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed universal precautions for dealing with any contact with blood. These universal precautions apply to you and to a blood cleaning company called in to undertake what technically is known as biohazard remediation. Biohazard remediation is the cleanup, sanitization, and restoration of a site that has been contaminated with blood, bodily fluids, and other biological materials. The universal precautions promulgated by the CDC are:
- Avoid and all contact with blood, bodily fluids, and other biological materials
- Wear a mask when cleaning up blood and bodily fluids (or use CPR breathing barriers when providing rescue breaths)
- Wear goggles or other eye protection when facing contact with blood or other bodily fluids
- Wear disposable apron or gown when in contact with blood or bodily fluids
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning up blood and bodily fluids (or when you have contact with blood or bodily fluids during a rescue)
- Remove all jewelry, including rings, before putting on disposable gloves
- Cover any of your cuts, sores, or scrapes
- Remove and replace disposable gloves after each use
- Properly dispose of all disposal personal protective equipment
- Properly sanitize all non-disposable personal protective equipment
- Thoroughly wash your hands after engaged in blood or bodily fluid cleanup, or having contact with them during a rescue
What Is “Personal Protective Equipment?”
The personal safety of any person engaged in blood cleanup is a paramount consideration. As has been discussed, the risks and dangers associated with cleaning up blood can be serious, even deadly. Proper personal protective gear or PPE is specialized gear that must be utilized by a person engaged in blood cleaning.
The reality is that consumers, people like you, do not have easy access to PPE. You can find equipment and gear that is like PPE. However, it may not meet the established standards necessary to provide you with appropriate protection when in contact with blood, bodily fluids, and other biological materials. A professional blood cleaning company (or biohazard remediation service) does have access to approved PPE.
The Basic Types of Personal Protective Equipment Are:
- Masks or respirators
- Disposal gloves
- Smock, apron, or uniform (disposable preferred)
In some cases, necessary PPR may also include head and show coverings, depending on the circumstances.
A Final Thought on Hiring a Professional Blood Cleaning Company
Odds are that if you have a situation in which a good amount of blood needs to be cleaned up, a traumatic event of some type has occurred in your home. Such an event may have included a crime, like an assault or even a homicide. You may have lost a loved one due to suicide. A loved one may have experienced an unintended death, a passing that was not immediately discovered.
While these are difficult situations to read about, they are even more emotionally wrenching to face. Understanding this reality, you need not heighten the loss, grief, and pain you very well may be experiencing at this time by personally undertaking the task of cleaning up after a truly traumatic event.
A professional blood cleaning company will provide the remediation and restoration help you need – in a compassionate, caring, and private manner. This permits you the ability to focus on more important issues like being with your family and supporting your loved ones in what may be a difficult time for you all.