Universal precautions for preventing the transmission of bloodborne infections include thoroughly washing hands and skin surfaces that have been in contact with infected blood or bodily fluids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other recommendations advise using protective barriers and exercising care when handling sharp instruments.
Establishing and maintaining a protective barrier between the care provider and contaminated material are important for minimizing the transmission risk, informs the CDC. Protective barriers, such as gloves, masks and protective eyewear, prevent exposure to blood and body fluids containing visible blood. Additionally, the CDC warns against disinfecting surgical or examination gloves for reuse and recommends changing gloves between each patient contact.
Bloodborne pathogens can also be transmitted through accidental injuries with sharp instruments contaminated with infected blood, cautions the CDC. To limit this exposure risk, individuals are warned against recapping, bending or otherwise manipulating needles and disposable sharp instruments by hand. Instead, all sharp instruments should be disposed into puncture-resistant containers as soon as possible following their use.
Individuals delivering care must be careful to avoid unnecessary touching of surfaces around the patient, advises the CDC. Hands should be washed with antimicrobial soap when contaminated or visibly soiled and after touching surfaces near the infected individual.