Some infections can be spread through contact with blood, body fluids, excretions and secretions. You cannot tell from looking at people if they have this kind of infection. This is why you need to use “Routine practices”. Routine Practices prevent contact with the blood, body fluids, excretions and secretions of other people. These practices are the same in all settings, for all people.
Routine practices are:
Wash hands: Wash your hands before and after touching other people. Wash them after contact with blood, body fluids, excretions and secretions or any soiled articles. Wash them right after removing gloves.
Wear gloves: Wear gloves before giving first aid. Wear them at other times when your hands are likely to come in contact with blood, body fluids, excretions and secretions, mucous membranes or broken skin. Wear gloves when handling soiled items or surfaces.
Clean properly: Be careful when you handle soiled materials and equipment so that you don’t soil other things. In case of spills of blood or other body fluid, excretions and secretions, first wipe up the spill with paper towels. Then sanitize the area using a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water. Allow the bleach mixture to be in contact with the surface for 10 minutes. Then wipe dry with a fresh paper towel. Place soiled clothing and washables in a plastic bag. Seal the bag. Use a second plastic bag if it is likely to leak. Launder as soon as possible in the normal fashion. Wash your hands.
Handle “sharps” safely: Avoid sharing personal items such as razors. Never share needles for injections. Place used “sharps”, such as needles used for injections, in a specially designed container. If you come across a used needle in a community setting, call the Health Unit to find out what to do. (If you must move it so that no one else will be injured, be very careful not to stick yourself.)
Use protective barriers as necessary
- Wear a gown or apron if your clothing is likely to be soiled with blood or body fluids, secretions or excretions. Remove your gown as soon as possible afterwards, then wash your hands.
- Cover all open or moist cuts or sores with a clean, dry bandage. Replace the bandage if it becomes wet or soiled.
- Protect your eyes, nose and mouth from splashes of blood, body fluids, excretions and secretions. If a splash does happen, wash it away as quickly as possible. See a doctor right away.
- Latex condoms, when used correctly, provide some (not 100%) protection against STDs, but the best way to prevent infection with a sexually transmitted disease is to not have sex.
- Report incidents: If you are exposed to someone else’s blood, body fluids, e.g., through a needlestick injury, a splash or a human bite that breaks the skin, contact your doctor or local emergency room right away for advice.
For more information, please contact a member of Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s Infectious Disease Team.
Simcoe Office: 519.426.6170 / 905.318.6623
Caledonia Office: 905.318.5367