Bloodborne Pathogens quick facts

Bloodborne Pathogens are bacteria and viruses present in blood and body fluids that can cause disease in humans.

Diseases of primary concern are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

Hepatitis B virus can live on a surface, exposed to the air and dried, for two weeks.

Bloodbone pathogens are spread through direct contact, indirect contact, droplet transmission and vector-borne transmission.

    Direct contact occurs when infected blood or body fluids from one
    person enter another person’s body at a correct entry site.

    Indirect contact occurs when a person touches an object that contains
    the blood or body fluid of an infected person, and that infected blood
    or body fluid enters the body at a correct entry site.

    Droplet transmission occurs when a person inhales droplets from an
    infected person’s cough or sneeze.

    Vector-borne transmission occurs when the body’s skin is penetrated
    by an infectious source.

Four conditions must be met for transmission:

    A pathogen is present.

    There is enough of the pathogen present to cause disease.

    A person is susceptible to the pathogen.

    The pathogen passes through the correct entry site.

Remember this is all preventable:

Universal precautions and standard precautions:

Standard precautions you should take while providing care include:

    Avoiding contact with blood and other body fluids.

    Using personal protective equipment, such as disposable gloves, protective eyewear, protective footwear, gowns and breathing barriers.

    (Kevlar gloves are puncture resistant. Nitrile gloves are resistant to most moderate chemicals. If you must use latex, touch victim as little as possible until you know if they are allergic to latex.)

    Using safer equipment such as self-sheathing needles, needleless systems or sharps with engineered sharps protection.

    Placing sharps in proper containers.

    Cleaning and disinfecting all possibly contaminated work surfaces and equipment after each use.

    (Never pour undiluted bleach straight from the bottle onto spills of blood, urine, sputum or vomit. Dangerous levels of toxic chlorine nitrous oxide gases could result.)

    Avoiding touching your eyes, mouth and nose while providing care or when exposure to infectious materials is possible.

    Avoid eating drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, or handling contact lenses while providing care or when exposure to infectious materials is possible.

    Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and warm water or other
    disinfectant products immediately after providing care, even if you
    are using disposable gloves.

    Use alcohol based rubs where handwashing facilities are not available.

    Remove/dispose of soiled protective clothing as soon as possible.

    Disposing of contaminated materials in appropriate receptacles.

biohazard symbol

The CDC notes:
Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat. On average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.

water running on soapy hands

The CDC says:
Follow these five steps every time you wash your hands.

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.


poster using hand sanitzer


CDC notes:
Engineering controls are the primary means of eliminating or minimizing employee exposure and include the use of safer medical devices, such as needleless devices, shielded needle devices, and plastic capillary tubes.

Best practices for preventing sharps and needlestick injuries include:

Plan safe handling and disposal before any procedure.
Use safe and effective needle alternatives when available.
Use needles with engineered sharps injury protection (SESIPs).
Always activate the device’s safety features.
Do not pass used sharps between workers.
Do not recap, shear, or break contaminated needles.
Immediately dispose of contaminated needles in in properly secured, puncture-resistant, closable, leak-proof, labeled sharps containers.
Complete Bloodborne Pathogens training.

Exposure procedures:

Exposure incidents involve contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials.

If there is an exposure:

    Clean the area of contact.

    Write down what happened.

    Notify your supervisor.

    Immediately seek medical attention.

    Follow your facility’s post-exposure policies and procedures.


Generally, the vaccinations you got as a child will protect you the rest of your life, but with a few exceptions you should note.
An adult recommended vaccinations schedule is at


The latest on bloodborne pathogens is at:

Generally, the vaccinations you got as a child will protect you the rest of your life, with a few exceptions. An adult recommended vaccinations schedule is at


see also:

How to pass a Red Cross written test

fast, basic neurological exam

Oxygen administration quick facts

cultural issues in first aid

wilderness first aid outline

injuries quick facts

Simple secondary survey study sheet


more details of the SAMPLE questions

Times to suspect a spinal injury: (and use a jaw thrust instead of a head tilt, chin lift).

Reasons why a person might become unconscious or semi-conscious (AEIOU TIPS)

causes of altered mental status, fainting, seizures,

Signs and symptoms of a concussion

care for a stroke

normal respiration, pulse, temperature

and a detailed simple secondary survey (SAMPLE, opqrst)

What the AED says as you use it

CPR quick facts

AED quick facts

Why did they change CPR?