Health care establishments, hospitals, clinics, laboratories and medical centers are hotbeds of infections, diseases and deadly disease causing microbes. The medical staff is constantly trying to make the sick better, working with deadly microbes and bloodborne pathogens like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV all the time. The risky job that they handle each day is something they are trained for. Along with being trained to take care of the patients, they are also trained to take care of themselves so that they can do a better job, keep more people healthy, contain diseases and infections and promote a healthy healing and working environment.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), under the Department of Health makes it mandatory for all health workers to undergo certain training courses. The Universal Precautions, as it is called, is a practice mandatory for all doctors, nurses, paramedics, laboratory personnel, janitors and cleaners in healthcare establishments, and all others who are required to work with human body and human fluids. Daycare workers, people working in old age homes and healing and massage centers are also required to have this training. The Universal Precautions works under the assumption that “all patients are potential carriers of bloodborne pathogens”. The training course is based on certain guidelines, which become the basis before starting practice. Here is a list of the top 10 things the course will be teaching.
• If there is to be contact with any body fluid, vaginal, seminal, blood, serum, mucous or any other, gloves have to be worn by the handler.
• If there are any wounds, cuts, bruises or other skin injuries in the area of contact, gloves have to worn to prevent the transmission of microbes and bloodborne pathogens.
• If there is to be any contact with vomit, urine or feces, gloves have to be worn by the handler.
• Wherever there is a possibility of splashing or spluttering of blood, face masks, shields and goggles have to be worn.
• While preparing patients for surgery and procedures, care has to be taken while using the razor.
• Sharp objects like scalpels, scissors and other medical equipment have to be handled with care, to not injure self, others and the patients.
• Resuscitation devices have to be used for providing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
• Open wounds and cuts have to be covered with medicated dressings before meeting the sick. Take the right measures if you are sick and have to meet the patients.
• In case of accidental exposure or contact with body fluids, wash and disinfect the effected part immediately.
• Wash hands well as prescribed after meeting patients.
Universal Precautions is considered very important for maintaining a healthy and a clean healing environment for the patients and a clean and healthy working environment for the medical staff. Practicing Universal Precautions helps keep the micro and macro environments safe and infection free. OSHA mandates all healthcare workers to be prepared in this course as it benefits not just the staff and the patients but helps prevent the spread of many diseases.