Various illnesses and diseases may threaten your health and the health of the consumer. Germs, viruses, parasites, MRSA (resistant staph) and bacteria can spread disease or illness. Colds, flu, mumps, chicken pox, tuberculosis, and food poisoning are passed through things we touch, eat or breathe. Doctors advise that you act as if you and the consumer are potentially infectious. Taking universal precautions will protect you from diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis that are passed through blood, semen, urine, and feces.
Discuss using the following procedures with the consumer:
- Wear gloves when there is a chance of contact with blood, semen, vaginal secretions, mucous membranes or other body fluids, when disposing of sanitary napkins, handling dirty laundry, cleaning the bathroom or assisting with menstrual care and assisting with bladder/bowel care. Wearing gloves is especially important when you have an open wound or open rash on your hands.
- Wash your hands carefully with soap and water before putting on the gloves and immediately after taking off the gloves. Wash carefully any time blood or other body fluids gets on you. Wash before and after going to the bathroom. Wash before preparing foods, performing personal care or house cleaning tasks and after physical contact with others. Use a nailbrush to scrub your hands. Dry your hands with paper towels, never with a damp towel.
- Protect yourself and others by not preparing or handling food when you are ill or have open sores.
- Use a mild bleach solution (10 parts water, 1 part bleach) to clean up blood or other body fluids.
- Clean up spills immediately. Use the bleach solution to soak or disinfect possible contaminated surfaces, linens, clothing or other objects. (Note: use carefully, as bleach can remove color in fabric).
- When you cut meat or chicken on a cutting board, sanitize the cutting board with the bleach and water solution to avoid spreading germs.
- Avoid handling sharp objects (such as razors or needles) that might have come in contact with blood or body fluids. Carefully place them in a puncture proof container for disposal.
- Wash most soiled laundry in a washer set on hot, and dry it in a dryer set on high. (If hot heat will damage items, follow manufacturer’s directions.)
- Wash dishes and utensils in hot soapy water. Rinse in very hot water, and let them air dry.
- Do not eat, drink, apply cosmetics or handle contact lenses where exposure to blood or other body fluid is possible.
- Notify the consumer if you are ill or have a condition that might be contagious.