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Handling blood and other body substances (Standard Precautions)

Note Some information on this page copied from SA Dept of Human Services web site.
To minimise the risk of spread of infection, all blood and body substances should be treated as potentially infectious. The techniques used in handling these substances are known as Standard Precautions and are recommended in the handling of:
  • blood
  • all other body substances including saliva, urine and faeces, but excluding sweat.
  • broken skin
  • mucous membranes (lining of nose, mouth and genitals)
  • dried blood and other body substances including saliva.
Standard Precautions are good hygiene practices relating to hand washing, the use of gloves and other protective clothing, as appropriate, and the safe disposal of waste.
Managing exposure to blood or other body substances
If any person has contact with blood or body fluids, the following procedures should be observed:
  • If blood or body fluids get on the skin, irrespective of whether there are cuts or abrasions, wash well with soap and water.
  • If the eyes are splashed, rinse the area gently but thoroughly with water while the eyes are open.
  • If blood or body fluid gets in the mouth, spit it out and rinse the mouth with water several times.
  • Incidents occurring at work should be reported immediately to the supervisor or occupational health officer.
  • Incidents occurring outside of work should be reported immediately to a doctor or the Accident and Emergency Department at the nearest hospital.
Surface cleaning of blood and body substances
If blood or body fluids are spilled on surfaces, the following cleaning procedures should be used:
  • Wear gloves. Eye protection and a plastic apron should be worn where there is a risk of splashing.
  • Remove as much of the spill as possible with a paper towel.
  • Clean area with warm water and detergent, using a disposable cleaning cloth or sponge.
  • Disinfect the area with a solution of household disinfectant.
  • Remove and dispose of gloves, paper towel and cleaning cloth in a sealed plastic bag after use. The plastic bag may then be thrown away with household waste.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.

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