Managing Exposures to Blood-Borne Pathogens

Initial care of the exposed person involves basic wound care. The first step in managing an exposure to a blood-borne pathogen is to clean the exposed area.8, 13 If it is a percutaneous exposure or a skin exposure, the area should be washed with soap and water. Small puncture wounds can be washed with an alcohol-based hand-wash; these are considered to be virucidal for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.8 Squeezing the wound to express blood is not recommended nor is the use of over-the-counter disinfectants such as bleach.8 Wash the eyes with saline or water and flush mucous membranes with water.

The next step is to report the exposure. This should be done as soon as possible; healthcare workers should notdelay reporting the incident. Information that should be obtained and documented includes those listed below.


Documentation of Exposure Circumstances


Documentation of the exposure circumstances should include the date and time of the exposure, the type of exposure, the location of the exposure (i.e., finger, hand, eye), the estimated time of contact with the blood or body fluid, how the exposure occurred, the body fluid that was involved, any first aid that was done, the PPE that was in use, documentation of the affected person’s blood-borne pathogens Hepatitis B Post-Exposure Treatment And Prophylaxis


The need for post-exposure treatment and prophylaxis after exposure to hepatitis B is determined by an evaluation of the source patient and the affected healthcare worker