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What are some important bloodborne pathogen facts to know?

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Quick Answer

Important facts regarding bloodborne pathogens include the major types of pathogens, how they are transmitted and how to prevent their spread, according to health instructor Mary Donahue for DeAnza College. Bloodborne pathogens are bacteria and viruses that cause diseases in the human body.

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Full Answer

Three major bloodborne pathogens include hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, notes Donahue. These pathogens spread from human to human through direct contact, droplet transmission, indirect contact and vector-borne transmission. Direct contact happens when infected blood or body fluids from one person enters another person's bloodstream. Indirect contact occurs when someone touches an object that contains infected body fluids such as a bandage from a wound. Droplet transmission happens when someone inhales another person's cough or sneeze, while vector-borne transmission occurs when a person's skin is penetrated by an infected object such as a syringe.

Common ways bloodborne pathogens enter the human body include cuts, scrapes and insect bites, says Appalachian State University. Infected blood can spread through another person's eyes, nose or mouth. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause liver inflammation and liver cancer. HIV weakens the immune system. All three of these diseases may cause death.

Avoid contact with blood; use personal protective equipment such as gloves; disinfect contaminated surfaces; thoroughly wash hands with soap; and properly dispose of contaminated objects to prevent the spread of bloodborne pathogens, explains Donahue. Take proper, standard precautions while caring for another person in a health care setting.

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