Health Care Workers: Preventing Hepatitis B and C - Fairview Health Services
 
Print
Request Appointment

Health Care Workers: Preventing Hepatitis B & C

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are serious threats to health care workers. These viruses spread through contact with infected blood and OPIM (other potentially infectious materials) such as body fluids and tissues. Since you can’t tell by looking if someone is infected, you always need to use standard precautions. This means treating all blood and OPIM as if it were infected.

Health care provider giving another health care provider an injection. Why You Are At Risk

Splashes, sprays, and needlesticks are common modes of transmission. If there’s any risk of your coming into contact with blood or body fluids during your workday, know that:

  • You can become infected if blood or body fluids containing HBV or HCV get into your mouth, eyes, or nose, or into a cut, scrape, burn, rash, or hangnail on your skin.

  • Some of the tasks that could put you at risk include giving injections, handling lab specimens, and cleaning work areas or patient rooms.

Steps to Protect Yourself

  • Get the HBV vaccine at your worksite.

  • Always wear the personal protective equipment (PPE) that’s appropriate for the task.

  • Wash your hands before and after any contact with patients or possibly contaminated items.

  • Properly dispose of all sharps and other waste.

Choose to Be Vaccinated

The hepatitis B vaccine protects you against HBV. (The vaccine does NOT protect you from HCV. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.) The vaccine is often given in a series of 3 injections over a period of 6 months. You must get all 3 injections to be protected.

If You’re Exposed

  • Immediately wash any part of your body that comes into direct contact with blood or other body fluids.

  • Report any exposure to your supervisor right away. You’ll be advised about proper follow-up. Even if you’ve received the HBV vaccine, you may need a booster shot and other medical attention.

 

Was this helpful?

Yes No
 

Tell us more.

Check all that apply.
 
 
 
 
 
NEXT ▶

Last question: How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?

Not at all A little Somewhat Quite a bit Extremely

Thank You!

 
 Visit Other Fairview Sites 
 
 
(c) 2012 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved.