General guidelines

Prevention

All health care workers must adopt universal precautions when handling blood/blood stained fluids—wear gloves, avoid blood spillage, use decontamination procedures if spillage occurs, label high risk specimens, care with needles (do not resheath), disposal in burn bins, etc.

Immediate action in event of exposure

• Encourage bleeding and/or wash under running water.

• Contact Occupational Health/A&E departments for help.

• Establish patient status re blood-borne viruses.

• Take blood from patient/test for viruses (with consent).

• Take blood from needlestick victim and store. Check HBV immunity/later tests if necessary.

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