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Bloodborne Pathogens

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Hand washing

Hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective practices to prevent transmission of BBPs.

Wash hands and other exposed skin thoroughly:

  • immediately after an exposure incident or after being contaminated.
  • after removing gloves or other personal protective equipment.
  • before leaving the lab or any work environment that provides potential exposure.

Hand washing facilities need to be available and provided with soap and disposable towels. Familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest hand washing facilities.

Correct hand washing sequence

In emergency situations when there are no hand washing facilities in the area, use antiseptic cleanser and clean toweling or antiseptic towelettes for immediate hand cleansing. Thorough washing with soap and water at a hand washing station should follow as soon as possible.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be used effectively to decontaminate hands that are not visibly soiled. In clinical or first response situations, these sanitizers can be used:

  • before and after donning gloves and other personal protective equipment,
  • between patients,
  • after contact with medical equipment.

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