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Standard Precautions to Prevent Spread of Infection for Healthcare Workers
- Avoid touching surfaces around the patient unless necessary.
- Hand washing with an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred if hands are not visibly soiled or after removing visible material with non-antimicrobial soap and water.
- Use antimicrobial soap and water to wash your hands if:
- Your hands are visibly dirty, soiled, or contaminated
- You had contact with spores from infectious organisms
- Wash hands:
- Before contact with a patient
- Before moving from a contaminated area of a patient to a clean area of the patient
- After contact with blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions, mucous membranes, nonintact skin, wound dressings or contaminated items
- After removing gloves
- After contact with objects such as medical equipment that is around the patient
- Artificial fingernails should not be worn when caring for patients who are at high risk for infection.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Use to prevent contamination of clothing or skin during procedures and patient care activities where contact with blood or other body fluids is anticipated
- Gowns should not be reused.
- Use for touching nonintact skin, mucous membranes, blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions, and contaminated items
- Use a new pair of gloves with each patient.
- Change gloves if moving from a contaminated area of a patient to a clean area of the patient.
Mask, Goggles, Face Shield
- Use during procedures and patient care activities that are likely to result in splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions, or excretions
- Use during lumbar procedures that involve placement of a catheter, or injection of material into spinal or epidural space
Needles and Other Sharps
- Accidental injuries with needles and sharps happen when performing procedures. They also occur when handling or disposing of used needles and sharps.
- To prevent needle stick injuries, used needles should not be recapped, bent or broken, or otherwise manipulated by hand.
- If recapping is required, use a one-handed scoop only.
- Place used needles, disposable syringes, scalpel blades, pipettes, and other sharp items in puncture-resistant containers marked with a biohazard symbol for disposal.
- Use safety features when available.
Safety when Injecting Medicine
- Aseptic techniques should be used with sterile injection equipment.
- Do not reuse needles, tubing, connectors, IV bags, or syringes. They should only be used on one patient.
- Use single-dose vials whenever possible and only use single-dose vials for one patient.
- If using multi-dose vials:
- Keep them away from the immediate patient areas.
- Needles, tubing and syringes used to access the vial must be new and sterile.
- Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces that are patients are near and frequently touched surfaces as these surfaces can easily be contaminated
- Use appropriate cleaning solutions that are Environmental Protection Agency registered.
- Child play toys used in waiting areas should be disinfected regularly.
- Handle fabric such as used sheets and towels carefully to avoid contamination with other objects or the air.
Equipment Used in Patient Care
- Removing material from instruments and cleaning the devices before sterilization
- Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment when handing patient care equipment that may have been soiled or been in contact with blood or body fluids
Respiratory Hygiene/Cough Etiquette
- Cover their mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Use tissues and after use, throw them away in appropriate receptacles.
- Wash hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing nose.
- Wear masks if they are coughing or have other symptoms as soon as they walk into the facility during a season where respiratory infections are common.
- Stay at least 3 feet away from other patients if they are having symptoms.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 10/2016
- Update Date: 12/31/2014