HealthSheets™


Bloodborne Pathogens: If You're Exposed

Bloodborne pathogens are disease-causing germs carried in blood or other body fluids. If blood or body fluids have touched your eyes, mouth, nose, or any other opening or break in your skin, you've been involved in an exposure incident. If you think or know that this has happened, stay calm. Wash the exposed area thoroughly with soap and water or an antiseptic. The eyes and inside of the mouth and nose should only be flushed with large amounts of plain water. Then report the exposure to your supervisor right away.

Report it right away

As soon as you're done washing, tell your supervisor:

  • How, when, and where the accident happened.

  • Whose blood or body fluids came into contact with you. If you're not sure, just describe exactly what happened.

Get medical care

If you've been involved in an exposure incident, get medical care right away:

  • A healthcare provider will give you the right testing, care, and information. You can decide if you want your blood tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. If you want to be tested, your employer will provide for testing and any needed medical referrals.

  • Whether you get tested and treated is up to you. Do what you think is best for your health and future.

  • Vaccinations or other medicines may help keep you from getting infected by certain germs. The shots must be given right away after exposure. Ask a healthcare provider about them.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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