Do you know which body fluids constitute a higher risk for being biohazards? Are you familiar with what a biohazard actually is? A biohazard is any biological material that poses a potential threat to the health and safety of humans, animals, or the environment.
Body fluids which have a higher risk of containing potential biohazards include:
- Human blood and blood products, including plasma, serum, and blood components.
- Semen and vaginal secretions
- Vomit or faeces
The Health Risks of Biohazard Exposure
Blood and certain body fluids can be contaminated with blood borne pathogens, infectious microorganisms that can cause disease in humans. Some common blood borne pathogens found in human blood and body fluids include:
HIV/AIDS. HIV affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. Once this happens, HIV leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Hepatitis B (HBV). HBV is an infection of the liver that causes 620,000 deaths worldwide each year. Contrary to popular belief, HBV is not the direct cause of liver damage. The presence of the virus triggers an immune response from the body that causes inflammation and can severely injure liver cells.
Hepatitis C (HCV). Similar to hepatitis B, HCV is an infection of the liver that usually produces no symptoms during its early stages. Unlike HBV, which can be prevented through a vaccination, HCV does not currently have a vaccination.
To prevent biohazard exposure, it is recommended that you always wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, eye protection, and face masks when handling another person’s blood or body fluids. The national guideline instructs people to treat all bodily fluids as if they were biohazards. If you find yourself in a situation that requires blood clean up that is larger than a dinner plate, contact a biohazard remediation provider for assistance.
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