5 Top Guidelines of Universal Precautions That Should Be Followed
Bloodborne pathogens are very toxic microorganisms that can cause deadly diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. These dangerous microbes enter the blood stream of a healthy person, weakening the immunity and eventually leading to death. Unfortunately, no medicines are available for the treatment as of today and very few vaccinations are present which have to be taken in advance. People working the health care sector are constantly at a high risk of contracting these diseases as their work involves taking care of the sick. To protect their health interests, the Universal Precautions were compiled.
The Universal Precautions are a set of guidelines and precautionary measures in place for every medical and health care professional. All health care workers are required to learn and practice the guidelines, as mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines are based on the assumption that”all fluids and blood from a human body are considered infectious and contaminated with bloodborne pathogens.” Read below to understand the top 5 universal precautions guidelines that have to be followed.
• Hand wash. The first step towards a hygienic, infection free environment is proper and effective hand washing. All medical staff must wash hands with a disinfectant before and after examining patient. The proper hand washing involves washing with a medical disinfectant for a minimum of 10 seconds before washing off with clear water and wiping them dry with a clean towel. This is also a good practice for everybody.
• Gloves. Protective gloves have to be worn at all times while working with a patient. The gloves being used should not be damaged or torn anywhere. They should be disposed off or sterilized, as per the requirements.
• Protective gear. In case spluttering or splashing of blood is expected, sterilized aprons and goggles have to be worn. The equipment has to be washed and sterilized for reuse. Damaged equipment must not be used. In case, there is an accidental exposure to splashing blood or body fluids, the affected area has to be washed immediately with a disinfectant.
• Sterilization of rooms. The operation theaters and examination rooms where the medical procedure is performed has to be cleaned and sanitized. The floors and walls of the rooms have to be scrubbed and cleaned with disinfectants to remove all traces of human blood.
• Waste disposal. Sharp objects that have been used during procedure have to be either disinfected and sterilized or disposed off, as per the requirement. Objects like needles have to be disposed off safely, in a container labeled as bio hazardous waste. The janitors handling this waste and garbage must know the protocols of handling medical waste. Other surgical equipment like scalpels and scissors have to be sterilized and stored safely for reuse.
Universal precautions preaches good hygiene, careful handling of human fluids and proper care of patients amongst medical staff. The guidelines set a standard to be followed by all those involving in saving lives and caring for patients.