Anytime you are cleaning up after someone else, wether in their home, car, office, medical facility or anywhere else, you risk possible exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens. Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause diseases in humans. It’s very important for employees in the cleaning industry to know how to handle a situation where they could be exposed. It is important that you follow Universal Precautions and assume all blood and bodily fluids are contaminated with Bloodborne Pathogens.
Bloodborne pathogens can include HBV and HIV. After being exposed it may not appear for several years. HBV is a type of liver disease that inflames the liver. It leads to liver damage and possible liver cancer. Symptoms are; fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, light colored stools, dark urine. HIV, (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), May develop AIDS, (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Symptoms of HIV are; constant fatigue, sore throat, persistent fever, persistent rash of unknown origin, night sweats,persistent swollen glands, mild to severe flu like symptoms. Like HBV, HIV could take several years to appear after exposure.
You can come in contact with Bloodborne Pathogens when handling laundry, cleaning up blood, vomit or saliva, and emptying trash. It is important that you know that needles could be hidden in laundry or trash cans, so to handle with care and never manually compress trash. Follow proper protective practices when handling a clean up or exposure. Wear proper PPE, clean and decontaminate with proper disinfectant cleaner. Remove and dispose of gloves and other equipment in properly labeled container. Wash hands immediately after removing gloves and goggles. All equipment used during decontamination needs to be properly disinfected following use. After occupational exposure the Hepatitis B vaccine must be made available at no cost. Vaccine must be provided after initial bloodborne pathogen training and within 10 days of any assignment that could result in occupational exposure.
It is very important all employees know about Bloodborne Pathogens so that they know how to handle these situations. It not only is protecting the employee but also protecting anyone else from being exposed.