You may be asking yourself what’s the best way to protect yourself from bloodborne pathogens exposure and prevent being infected. Let’s discuss the different types of illnesses that can be transmitted by blood and learn why a bloodborne pathogens compliance training is necessary.
While there are plenty of different illnesses that can be exchanged with blood, we’re going to focus on a few that pose the most serious risks for both their abundance, extreme symptom ranges, and lethality. All bloodborne pathogens are serious and should be avoided at all costs, but these are a few of the most dangerous ones.
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The biggest concern is Hepatitis B, but Hep C is another major concern. The different strains make this disease more abundant, meaning you should be more concerned with it.
Hepatitis B is a disease that has ravaging effects across your whole body. This includes yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice due to liver complications), webbing of blood vessels on the skin, abdominal pain, nausea, scarring, and even cancer. Over 1 million people have a liver disease known as HBV, which comes from Hep B complications.
Syphilis is just another common skin rash STD, right? Absolutely not. There are some infections you can get from improper sexual activity that you can treat or cure in a matter of days.
The very first stage includes painless sores in the infected area, yes. However, you could also experience ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, inflammation, and even damage to the heart, nerves, and brain. Neurosyphilis is a particularly concerning strain as those more serious effects become more likely.
With all of these illnesses, there is no known cure. There are treatments to aid with symptoms, but once you have them, you have them for life. Some may come in irregular flare-ups while others may cause constant problems.
How to Protect Yourself?
Use Caution Around Needles
Needles are one of the biggest concerns for bloodborne pathogens, and the fact that they’re so difficult to spot only increases their danger. Therefore sharps deposits are so common in high-risk areas, and why needle exchange programs are so crucial.
If you work or volunteer in a location that involves the use of needles, you need to take the proper precautions. If you volunteer in a homeless shelter where opioid use is high, this is a serious risk for you. If you work in a hospital, you need to have the proper sharps training. One accidental stick can have lifelong consequences.
Make sure that people at work are following the proper OSHA and CDC guidelines with bloodborne pathogens. If you take the proper training, you will put yourself in the position to educate others about the best practices and even take charge in the event of an accident where blood is present.
Having the right training allows you to help others make safe decisions. If you work with people struggling with opioid addiction, you may get a unique opportunity to help them slow the spread of these illnesses. You can also be the hero at work if the time comes!
Learn more about bloodborne pathogens training here.