Universal Precautions By Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

In an effort to curb the transmission of AIDS, hepatitis B, and other infectious diseases, in 1985 the CDC issued guidelines known as Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions or simply universal precautions. It is now known that consistent use and adherence to these guidelines greatly minimizes the risk of infectious disease transmission. At the recommendation of the CDC, health care providers were to consider every patient potentially infectious for AIDS, hepatitis B, and other bloodborne pathogens and to routinely and consistently use the techniques of universal precautions as a means of infection control.

Following is a summary of the CDC's universal precautions and guidelines for control of AIDS, hepatitis B, and other infectious diseases:

a) Consider all (patients') blood and body fluids to be contaminated.

b) Always wash hands before and after (patient) contact.

c) Always wash hands if contaminated with blood or body fluids.

d) Wear gloves when handling or touching blood, body fluids, body tissue, mucous membranes, nonintact skin, or contaminated equipment and supplies.

e) Wear gloves when performing venipuncture and other blood access treatments or procedures.

f) Change gloves after each patient contact.

g) Wash hands after glove removal. Gloves do not replace handwash technique.

h) Wear gloves, gown, mask, goggles/face shield if splashing of blood or body fluids can occur or if exposure to droplets of blood or body fluids is a possibility. Examples of this are wound care and endoscopy.

i) Use extreme caution when handling needles, scalpels, and other sharp instruments (sharps) during procedures and when handling them after procedures are completed. Dispose of sharps in an approved puncture-proof container that should be located as close as practical to the work area.

j) Use a mouthpiece if performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation although saliva has not been implicated in transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS.

k) Clean blood and body fluid spills with agency disinfectant or a 10 percent solution of sodium hypochlorite (household bleach).

l) Report needlesticks, splashes, and contamination by wounds or body fluids. Follow up with employee health services, physician, and other appropriate personnel.

m) Health care workers with open lesions (injury or wound) or dermatitis (skin rash) should avoid direct contact with patients and their supplies and equipment until healed.
n) Laboratory specimens and their containers are modes of disease transmission and gloves should be worn during handling.

o) Pregnant health care providers should be especially careful to adhere to the guidelines so as to protect themselves and the unborn child.

Above are the fifteen Universal Precautions By Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a medical assistant's medical safety!