Blood-Borne Pathogens & Exposure
The purpose of this information sheet is to advise students of the procedures to be taken if any exposure to blood or body fluids should occur. Careful attention to universal precautions will minimize the possibility of exposure to blood or body fluids and should be employed routinely. The following definition will be used:
An exposure to blood or body fluid – during an educational experience is defined as a percutaneous injury (e.g., a needlestick or cut with a sharp object), contact with mucous membranes or contact with skin (especially when the exposed skin is chapped, abraded, or afflicted with dermatitis, or the contact is prolonged or involving an extensive area) with blood, tissues, or other bodily fluids to which universal precautions apply.
Note that this definition includes injuries and contacts that have potential exposure; any injury or contact is to be treated the same way by the student. Decisions about prophylactic medication will be made in concert with medical personnel.
All students are required to participate in yearly informational training about blood-borne pathogens and universal precautions. The University has polices on Exposure to Blood-Borne Pathogens and Infectious Disease.
Students will rotate to a variety of clinical sites each of which may have a slightly different policy. Students should be aware of the policy of the clinical site, but in all cases the following general principles apply.
General Student Instructions
Report the incident to your preceptor or his/her designee immediately. Follow the clinical site’s policy for where to have an immediate assessment.
- The cost of health clinic or emergency room visit will be billed to the student’s health insurance.
- The cost of initial prophylactic treatment should it be indicated will also be billed to student’s insurance. Please note, IF THE EXPOSURE IS CONSIDERED HIGH RISK, prophylactic treatment should begin within 2 hours of the exposure, delays should not preclude prophylaxis.
- Clean the wound, skin, or mucous membrane IMMEDIATELY with soap and running water. Allow blood to flow freely from the wound. Do not attempt to squeeze or “milk” blood from the wound.
- If exposure is to the eyes, flush eyes with water or normal saline solution for several minutes.
The Office of Student Services will maintain a record of each incident.
Have the following information available when you contact Student Services:
When: Approximate time of exposure
Where: Location of exposure (e.g., hospital, office, etc.)
What: Source of the exposure (e.g., blood, contaminated instrument, etc.)
How Long: Skin, mucous membrane, percutaneous; and how long (e.g., seconds/minutes/hours) exposure time
Status of the patient: Negative, Positive, or Unknown HIV Status, whether or not patient is at risk for HIV infection because of:
- Multiple Blood Transfusions 1978-1985
- IV Drug User
- Multiple sexual partners, homosexual activity
- Significant blood or bodily fluid exposure has occurred
Follow Up: What steps were taken immediately following the exposure incident:
- Any blood work performed
- Long term recommendations
Because long term disposition is often based on laboratory evaluation, it is critical that you follow up with an appropriate health care provider. At the time of the initial evaluation, the site protocol may designate a particular provider or infectious disease specialist for follow up, or may ask you to follow up with your primary care provider. Should you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and a student health representative will assist you.