To reduce the spread of infectious diseases (diseases that can be spread from one person to another), it is important to follow standard precautions. Standard precautions are a set of infection control practices used to prevent transmission of diseases that can be acquired by contact with blood, body fluids, non-intact skin (including rashes), and mucous membranes. These measures are to be used when providing care to all individuals, whether or not they appear infectious or symptomatic.
The following are standard precautions:
- Hand hygiene which can be either washing with plain or anti-bacterial soap and water or the use of alcohol gel to decontaminate hands.
- When performing nursing or medical interventions, if the hands are not visibly soiled, the use of an alcohol-based sanitizer is the preferred method of hand hygiene. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for use of hand sanitizer.
- Treating all blood and body fluids as potentially infectious.
- Using personal protective equipment (PPE), for example, gloves, when at risk for exposure to blood or body fluids.
- Proper disposal of medical waste.
- Disposing sharps, contaminated items that may easily cause cuts or punctures in the skin (used needles, lancets, broken glass or rigid plastic vials) and unused needles and lancets that are being discarded, into a puncture resistant, leak-proof, closable, container labeled with the biohazard symbol or are red in color.
- Non-sharp disposable items that are saturated with blood or body fluids (i.e. fluid can be poured or squeezed from the item or fluid is flaking or dripping from the item), such as a gauze bandage saturated in blood, should be disposed of in biohazard bags that are puncture resistant, leak-proof, and labeled with a biohazard symbol or red in color.
It is recommended that school district staff who are responsible for providing first aid and illness management complete a bloodborne pathogen training. More information and resources on bloodborne pathogen training can be found on the Department of Public Instruction website: http://sspw.dpi.wi.gov/sspw_bloodborne.
Hand Hygiene should be performed at the following times:
- Before and after physical contact with any student (even if gloves have been worn).
- Immediately after touching blood, body fluids, non-intact skin, mucous membranes, or contaminated items (even if gloves have been worn).
- Immediately after removing gloves.
- Before and after eating or handling food.
- After using the restroom.
- After sneezing or coughing.
- After providing any first aid.
The following precautions should also be used when disposing of medical waste.
- Wear disposable gloves when in contact with blood and other body fluids.
- Wear protective eyewear when body fluids may come in contact with eyes (e.g., squirting blood).
- Wipe up any blood or body fluid spills as soon as possible (wear disposable gloves).
- Double bag the trash in plastic bags and dispose of immediately.
- Clean the area with an appropriate cleaning solution.
- Send soiled clothing (i.e., clothing with blood, stool or vomit) home with the student in a double-bagged plastic bag (Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 2014).