Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease and/or illnesses. Bloodborne pathogens are easily transmittable through body fluids and blood. The pathogens can enter another person through a variety of different methods such as needles, human bites, cuts, abrasions, saliva, and body secretions. The most common types of bloodborne pathogens, or BBPs, are the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Because BBPs (bloodborne pathogens) are easily transmittable, special precautions must be taken to make sure that you do not become infected from a BBP.
There are two methods of protection from BBPs. Body substance isolation, or BSI, and personal protective equipment, or PPE, are used to protect you from becoming infected from a BBP. Body substance isolation (BSI) refers to isolating all body substances to reduce the transmittal of bloodborne pathogens. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to help with BSI to protect the body from coming into contact with a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through blood or bodily fluids. Examples of personal protective equipment (PPE) would be latex gloves, hospital gowns, masks, respirators, and surgical masks. Other examples that could be used are foot and eye protection, earplugs or muffs, full body suits, and hard hats. People that work in the medical field have many different options at work to protect themselves from BBPs.
A four letter acronym, PACT, can help you remember the steps on how to protect yourself from bloodborne pathogens.
- “P” stands for Protect Yourself From BBP.
- “A” stands for Act Quickly and Safely.
- “C” stands for Clean Yourself.
- “T” stands for Tell What You Saw and Report.
You can protect yourself from BBPs by using PPEs to protect yourself and shield your body from exposure. You can act quickly and safely by taking proper measures if you should come into contact with a BBP. Clean your hands or exposed areas quickly with soap and water for 20 seconds and seek medical attention. Tell what you saw and report what happened so that medical staff can treat you properly and prevent the spread of infection. Getting your certification in bloodborne pathogens can help you learn what to do in the event that you are ever exposed to a BBP. Certification in bloodborne pathogens can also help prevent you from becoming exposed by taking proper prevention measures and using personal protective equipment correctly.
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