Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Infection Control of Blood Borne Pathogens: 3 Major Factors

Infection control of blood borne pathogens is preventing their spread from one individual to another and thereby preventing illness and infection. The first step in infection control is to understand how the germs spread. The second step is, knowing how to control their spread.

There are 3 factors involved in infection control. There are discussed below:

• Knowing and practicing universal precautions
Universal precautions protect you from contracting infection by bloodborne pathogens. They also keep others around you safe. Hand washing, gloving and wearing protective clothing are the main precautions to be followed to control the spread of infection. Universal precautions are standards of infection control. They protect you from blood borne diseases like Hepatitis B, C and HIV. You must follow these precautions when you come in contact with blood and other human body fluids like semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, nasal secretions, vomit, urine and excretion.

Hand washing: Thorough, regular washing of hands will help to curb the spread of infection. Hospital employees must always wash hands before and after contact with patients and while using sterilized equipments.

Gloving: While attending patients and especially whenever you come in contact with body fluid you are required to wear disposable latex gloves. This is a part of the universal precautions. Correct donning and removing of gloves is crucial in preventing the spread of blood borne pathogens. Gloves should be changed after every use. New gloves are to be used for new patients as used or contaminated gloves can transfer germs from one patient to another. In the event of a glove tearing while working on a patient, take it off immediately and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.

Personal Protective Clothing: Put in the protective clothing in the prescribed order, i.e. gown, mask or respirator, goggles or face shields, and gloves. Be careful while putting the clothing on and off.

• Cleaning and Disinfection
The second way to prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens is by cleaning and disinfecting the surroundings. It is essential for health care employers not to infect others and also not to be infected by others. Regular cleaning of surfaces and other items with soap and water is the best way to prevent infection. Going a step ahead of cleaning is called Disinfection. This involves soaking the surface or item with a special solution for sometime after washing with soap and water. Soaking in the special solution kills any extra germs. The best and most common washing solution is water and household bleach.

• Awareness and Reporting
Be aware of the various signs and symptoms of blood borne pathogen infections. Report them to a doctor accurately and in a timely manner. This will help the doctor is correctly diagnosing the infection and thus providing you with the best treatment.

It is not enough to be aware of the signs. Reporting the incident immediately is essential. Instant reporting permits immediate medical action which can prevent the development of Hepatitis B and enable the doctor to know if there is risk of potential HIV infection. Instant reporting also helps in avoiding spread to other individuals. Moreover, it helps the people in-charge to assess the situation and find means to avoid the same situation from repeating in the future.

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