In the 1980s, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) established guidelines and precautions specifically to protect medical care professionals, and any other person who may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens. Under these precautions, the human blood and certain body fluids are considered to contain HIV, HBV, or other infectious blood-borne pathogens. These approaches, which stipulate standardized approaches to infection control, require the use of personal protective control equipment that will reduce the risk of exposure of one’s skin and mucus membrane form potentially infectious materials (Chin, 143).
The first considerably emphasized universal medical precaution is hand hygiene either through hand washing or through surgical scrubbing before and after contact with a patient, upon contamination with blood or body fluids and after removing gloves. The second precaution requires the use of gloves when handling body fluids and tissues, mucous membrane, laboratory specimen, non-intact skin, or contaminated equipments. Furthermore, the health care provider should handle each patient with a new pair of gloves.
The third precaution requires the use of masks and eye-protection and face shield to protect the health care provider’s face and mucous membrane during procedures where blood or body fluids may splash. Moreover, this precaution should be considered during the examination of patients infected with air-borne diseases. In addition, by ensuring that they wear gowns, health care providers protect themselves during procedures that may generate splashes or sprays of infectious body fluids (Chin, 143)
Another precaution is the use of Special equipment for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In addition, the universal medical precautions recommend that all the health care providers should take precaution to avoid injuries that may result from sharp instruments and objects such as needles and scalpels. After their use, sharps should be disposed in an approved puncture-proof container. Health care providers should observe safe injection practices by ensuring the use of sterile and disposable needles and syringe after every injection.
Health care providers should safely handle anything in the patient’s environment suspected of contamination to avoid the transmission of the infectious agents. The precautions also stipulate procedure for environmental care. These include the cleaning of blood and body fluids spills and linen with agency disinfectant and the disinfection of surfaces. Another universal medical precaution is patient placement. Patients diagnosed with various blood-borne pathogen caused infections should be isolate in private rooms to mitigate the risk of contaminating other people in the vicinity. In addition, health care providers with injuries or wounds should be cautions to avoid any direct contact with patients and contaminated equipments until healed. Special emphasis is placed on pregnant health care providers to strictly follow the universal medical precautions to avoid exposing their unborn child to harm. Instances of needle-sticks, splashes and body fluids contamination should be reported and a follow up done with the relevant personnel.
The strict adherence to the universal medical precautions by the health care providers will significantly reduce instances of exposure to blood-borne pathogens and infections. By limiting the number of individuals who encounter the infectious agents, the spread of infectious disease is considerably mitigated. Due to their easy mode of transmission, pathogens in body fluids can easily spread form one individual to another resulting into an epidemic. By incorporating the universal medical precautions in the health care setting, their observance has become a norm among the health care providers. In this regard, the suppression of the spread of these pathogens is a daily undertaking whose outcome is more effective than periodical prevention practices in this regard. The precautions put both the health care providers and the patient’s health in consideration. In addition, the precautions acknowledge the importance of keeping the environment safe from any harmful materials.