No matter what your profession is, a tattoo artist, a healthcare worker, or something else – the importance of safety measures that must take place when getting in touch with human blood can’t be overlooked. On that note, in this article, we are going to explain why is this so important, as well as the ways that you can protect yourself.
Why is Human Blood Dangerous?
First things first, before we explain the best ways to protect yourself, let’s talk about the dangers that come with exposure to other persons’ blood. The problem with human blood is the fact that it is a potential carrier of blood-borne pathogens that can further lead to diseases that are transmitted in the blood. These pathogens can vary, the most notable ones being HIV and hepatitis viruses (HBV and HCV).
How Can the Pathogens Be Transmitted?
Many people that tend to disregard the importance of safety when it comes to interacting with human blood do it because they believe that the pathogens are not that easily transmittable. Sure, the skin itself does provide a degree of protection, but if you have the smallest scratch or a cuticle, and infected blood happens to come into contact with it, the pathogens can be transmitted. So, why would you risk that? When it comes to managing bloodborne pathogens, it’s all about the danger reduction. Just because the risk isn’t big, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. And it is important to mention – if you do get infected, you will have to deal with these diseases for a lifetime, they are manageable, but there isn’t a cure.
What Can You Do?
When it comes to the part of what you can do, a little really goes a long way.
Gloves are a must if there is any possibility of dealing with human blood! Gloves will protect you if you get in touch with blood, body fluids, mucous membranes and so. The use of gloves is also going to decrease the possibility of disease transmission if you happen to be pricked with a needle, which can easily happen if you are a tattoo artist. That being said, it is also important to know when to change your gloves – after every use! Also, be sure to always wash your hands after removing your gloves, especially if they did come into contact with human blood.
Masks and Protective Eyewear
Whatever you are doing, if there is the possibility for blood to get to your face, you need to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth in advance. This is why you should use a mask and goggles, or even better a face shield. This way, you are going to protect your eyes, mouth, and nose from droplets of blood. So, to recap, be sure to wear a mask and protective eyewear if you are doing any type of a procedure that may in any way result in splashes or sprays of body fluids or blood.
Other Necessary Precautions
You should always use puncture-resistant containers in order to dispose of anything that you have used that has come in contact with human blood, so, needles, scalpels, and similar. It goes without saying that you should never recap needles! Also, just try and avoid touching objects that may be contaminated in general, or if you do touch them, use gloves.
What Should You Do if You Come Into Contact With Blood?
The last segment of this article is going to explain what should be done if you do happen to come in contact with human blood. When it comes to these situations, you should always approach them as if you were potentially infected. The first thing that you should do is to wash the area with warm water and soap. Never squeeze the wound, and also, don’t soak it in bleach. It will only endanger you further. After that is done, you should go to the doctor.
Going to the Doctor
What will happen when you go to the doctor is that you are going to be asked to give consent in order for your blood to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B, and C. Your further treatment depends on the test results, as well as the type of exposure to blood. It’s really important to go to the doctor as fast as you can because if you are not infected, you will know that there is nothing to worry about, and if you are, you will get the treatment you need immediately, without risking the symptoms to get worse before it gets better.
As we have already stated, when it comes to protection, a little really does go a long way. Protection is the last thing that can be overlooked, especially if you are potentially dealing with such dangerous pathogens. So, be sure to follow all of the advice, and be safe!