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Bloodborne Pathogens: If You're Exposed

Bloodborne pathogens are disease-causing germs carried in blood or other body fluids. If blood or body fluids have touched your eyes, mouth, nose, or any other opening or break in your skin, you've been involved in an exposure incident. If you think or know that this has happened, stay calm. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, or an antiseptic. Areas such as the eyes or nose should be flushed with large amounts of water. Then report the exposure to your supervisor right away.

Man holding hand to head talking to supervisor. Man sitting on exam table talking to health care provider.

Report it immediately

As soon as you finish washing, tell your supervisor:

  • How, when, and where the accident happened.

  • Whose blood or body fluids came into contact with you. If you're not sure, just describe exactly what happened.

Seek medical attention

If you've been involved in an exposure incident, seek immediate medical attention:

  • A healthcare professional will provide you with the correct testing, treatment, and education. You can decide if you want your blood tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. If you want to be tested, your employer will provide for testing and, if needed, medical referrals.

  • In the end, whether or not you get tested and treated is up to you. Do what you think is best for your health and future.

  • Vaccinations or other medicines may help keep you from becoming infected by certain germs. The vaccinations must be given right away after exposure. Ask a healthcare professional about them.


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