Universal Precautions and Infection Control
Universal precautions are intended to prevent the transmission of infections and diseases of all types, as well as to decrease the risk of exposure for all School Department employees and students. These precautions must be used at all times.
Universal Precautions Pertaining to Blood and Body Fluids
The single most important step in preventing exposure to and transmission of any infection is anticipating potential contact with infectious materials in routine as well as emergency situations. Proper hand washing, the use of barriers, and appropriate disposal of waste products are essential techniques of infection control. Using common sense in the application of these measures will enhance protection of both the care-giver and other persons. Students should be encouraged to care for their own injuries, when possible, under the supervision of a care-giver.
Proper hand washing is crucial to preventing the spread of infection. Use of running water, lathering soap and using friction to clean all surfaces of the hand is important. Rinse well with running water and dry hands with paper towels.
• Hands should be washed before physical contact whenever possible and after the contact is completed.
• If hands (or other skin) become soiled with blood or body fluids, they should be washed immediately.
• Hands should be washed whether gloves or a barrier are used.
Barriers include disposable gloves, tissues, paper towels, gauze, cotton, etc. (anything which puts something between the care-giver and the affected area). The use of a barrier is intended to reduce the risk of contact with blood and body fluids for the care-giver as well as to control the spread of infectious agents from person to person. It is essential that appropriate barriers be used at all times.
Gloves should be worn when direct care of the student may involved contact with blood or body fluids. For infection control, it is recommended that gloves or a barrier be used as well for contact with urine, feces, and respiratory secretions. Gloves should be disposed of after each use and not reused.
• Gloves should be worn when changing diapers.
• Gloves should be worn when providing mouth or nose care.
• Gloves should be worn if the care-giver has broken skin on the hands (even around the nails.)
• Gloves should be worn when cleaning up spills of blood (e.g., nosebleeds) or body fluids and waste.
Disposal of Waste
All trash contaminated with blood or body fluids (i.e. sanitary napkins, paper towels, tissues, etc.) after being wrapped in a barrier, should be placed in a plastic bag which is then sealed. This bag should be placed in a second plastic bag which is also sealed. The double-bagged waste can then be thrown in the garbage, out of the reach of others.
Spills of blood and body fluids should be cleaned up immediately.
• Wear gloves.
• Mop up the spill with paper towels or other absorbent material.
• Using a solution of one part household bleach in ten parts of water, wash the area well.
• Dispose of gloves, soiled towels and other waste in a sealed double plastic bag in the garbage as outlined previously.
• Clean the object which caused the injury.
Regular cleaning of surfaces such as toilet seats and table tops can be done with the standard cleaning solution already used or the bleach solution outlined above on a daily basis or more frequently as needed.
Trash from the health office and bathrooms should always be double-bagged.
If accidental exposure to blood, body products or body fluids occurs, the following procedure should be used.
• Always wash the contaminated area immediately with soap and water.
• If a mucous membrane splash (eye or mouth) or contamination of broken skin occurs, irrigate and/or wash the area thoroughly.
• If a cut or puncture injury occurs, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
Any questions regarding the use of these precautions should be directed to any of the school nurses.