First aid and standard precautions

Posted 17 September, 2020
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Being blood aware
Being blood aware doesn’t mean having to be
fanatical about avoiding contact with other
people’s blood. Blood awareness applies when
dealing with bloody or other body spills or
accidents, whether the people involved are known
to have Hepatitis or not.
It simply means taking reasonable steps to reduce
the overall chance of being exposed to viruses.
What are standard precautions?
Standard precautions are basic levels of infection
control and risk minimisation. The basic principle of
infection control around blood borne viruses is to
treat all blood as potentially infectious. There is no

need for additional precautions for hepatitis-
positive people when standard infection control

measures are in place.
What are standard precautions?
Standard precautions include the following:
• Good hygiene practices
• Hand washing
• Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
• The correct handling and disposal of sharps
and other potentially infectious waste
• Routine cleaning
• Immunisation

What should I do if I have to give first aid?
It is important to remember that Hepatitis B and C
are not passed on through general contact
between people. You cannot get Hepatitis B or C
from saliva, tears or sweat. When giving first aid, it
is important to be blood aware:
• Your skin is your ‘first line of defence’
against infections. Make sure you have no
uncovered cuts, abrasions or dermatitis.

• Wear disposable gloves when dealing with
any blood or other bodily fluids.
• Disposable materials (e.g. paper towels)
should be used when cleaning up blood or
other bodily fluid spills or splashes.
• Any surfaces which have had blood or other
bodily fluid splashes should be cleaned with
detergent and water.
• When giving resuscitation in the event of a
first aid emergency, use safe practices (such
as using a mouth shield).
• Seek medical advice from a GP or local
hospital if exposed to blood. If you are not
vaccinated for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis B
immunoglobulin (HBIG) is available if you
have been exposed to hepatitis B, and post
exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is available if you
have been exposed to HIV.
Interested in finding out more?
• Talk to your GP
• Visit the Queensland Health website
• Contact Hepatitis Queensland on our
Infoline 1800 437 222 or visit
www.hepqld.asn.au


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