Blood borne viruses

Blood borne viruses

Blood borne viruses are infectious microorganisms that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Needle sticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose workers to blood borne pathogens. Workers in many occupations, including first aid team members, housekeeping personnel in some industries, nurses and other healthcare personnel may be at risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens.




What can be done to control exposure to blood borne pathogens?

In order to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens, an employer must implement an exposure control plan for the worksite with details on employee protection measures. The plan must also describe how an employer will use a combination of good work practice and ensure the use of personal protective clothing and equipment, provide training, medical surveillance, hepatitis B vaccinations, and signs and labels, among other provisions. Engineering controls are the primary means of eliminating or minimizing employee exposure and include the use of safer medical devices, such as needleless devices and shielded needle devices.

AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:

AIDS is caused by a human immune-deficiency virus (HIV). The virus attacks the body’s natural immune system and makes it vulnerable to infections, which will eventually cause death. Some people are known to be HIV positive, which means that they are carrying the virus without any symptoms of AIDS. HIV carriers are able to pass on the virus to someone else through infected blood or tissue fluid, for example through cuts or broken skin. The virus does not live for long outside the body. Clients taking antiretroviral medication and with an undetectable viral load are unlikely to infect another person.

Hepatitis B:

This is a disease of the liver caused by a virus (HBV) that is transmitted by infected blood and tissue fluids. 

The virus is very resistant and can survive outside the body. People can be very ill for a long time with Hepatitis B infection. It is a very weakening disease, which can be fatal. Strict hygiene practices are essential to prevent Hepatitis B from spreading in the salon. A vaccine is available against Hepatitis B. It is recommended to get the vaccinations. 


Dealing with body fluids:

If blood or body fluids have to be mopped, ensure that disposable gloves, apron and disposable paper are used. All disposable items should then be placed in a yellow plastic sack and destroyed by incineration.  

Neat chlorine bleach should be used as the sterilizing agent on blood spills. The bleach treatment will destroy the viruses, which will cause AIDS and Hepatitis B