Bloodborne Pathogens Training

Your chance of being exposed to a bloodborne pathogen in school is low. Bloodborne pathogens are disease-causing organisms found in the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. The most concerning diseases include HIV, Hepatitis B (HBV), and Hepatitis C (HCV).

Entering the Body

Your skin provides a natural protective barrier against bloodborne pathogens. These diseases can enter your body through broken skin. Examples include:

  • Cut, scratch, skin abrasion, or razor nick

  • Dermatitis or acne

  • Sharing needles

The other way pathogens can get inside your body is when contaminated blood or bodily fluids get into your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Bodily fluids that can carry disease are semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk.

Dried HBV can survive on a surface at room temperature for at least one week.

Protecting Yourself from Exposure when assisting a person who is bleeding:

  • Send someone for help

  • Next, protect yourself. You should use disposable gloves. Never re-use gloves.

  • Once gloves are removed. Wash hands with soap and water if available otherwise

  • Use an antiseptic hand cleanser and wash as soon as possible

Cleaning up:

  • Contact custodian for proper cleaning to avoid contamination/exposure.

  • Do not allow students to assist.

  • The custodian should be cleaning up any broken glass with a dustpan and brush. Never use your hands!

  • If you find a syringe or needle use a broom or dustpan. If you are accidentally stuck with a needle, wash the area immediately with soap and water and report the incident to the nurse.

What to do if you are exposed:

  • Wash the affected area with soap and water.

  • If infectious material gets into your eyes, nose or mouth flush with large amounts of water.

  • As soon as possible report the incident to your supervisor or school nurse.

Remember, being exposed to infectious material does not automatically mean you are infected.


Infection Control Measures

The spread of communicable diseases can be controlled by the use of good infection control practices. In the school setting, age-appropriate immunization is key in preventing the transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases. Proper hand hygiene, standard precautions, appropriate personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting, and respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette are effective methods for preventing the spread of most infectious diseases and should be implemented and practiced consistently in schools.

Some diseases require more specific prevention measures. Please refer to the Communicable disease section of The School Health Manual for detailed information on individual diseases.

Hand Hygiene

Proper hand hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of most infections.

Several studies have indicated an association between hand washing or use of alcohol-based

hand sanitizers and reduction in school absenteeism due to infectious illnesses.

People should practice hand hygiene:

  • after toileting;

  • before eating or handling food; and

  • after contact with blood or body fluids, non-intact skin, or nasal and respiratory secretions.

To properly wash and clean hands, the following procedures should be followed:

  • Wash hands with soap and water when they are visibly soiled. Wet hands first with water, apply soap, and rub hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Rinse hands with water and dry thoroughly. Use a towel to tum off the faucet.

  • If hands are not visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub or gel may be used in place of soap and water. Apply the product to the palm of one hand and rub the hands together, covering all surfaces of the hands and fingers, until hands are dry.

Detailed hand hygiene information is available on the CDC website at:

Standard Precautions

Standard precautions are used for all contact with blood and other body fluids, secretions, and excretions; non-intact skin; and mucous membranes. These precautions must be used at all times, regardless of a person's infection status or diagnosis. Standard precautions include:

  • Follow hand hygiene guidelines (see above).

  • Wear gloves (clean, non-sterile ) when touching blood, body fluids, non-intact skin, or contaminated items. Change gloves between patients and tasks, and always practice hand hygiene whenever gloves are removed. Gloves are not a substitute for hand hygiene.

  • Gowns, masks, and eye protection should be worn during procedures and activities that are likely to generate splashes or a spray of blood or body fluids. Disinfect surfaces and equipment contaminated with blood or body fluids using a 1:10 solution of bleach for 30 seconds, or any EPA-approved disinfectant used according to manufacturers' recommendations. Bleach solutions should be mixed on a routine basis and stored in an opaque bottle.

  • Dispose of needles, syringes, and all other sharps in a puncture-proof container.

  • Dispose of infectious waste (anything contaminated with blood or body fluid s) in a leak-proof sealable bag.

Respiratory Hygiene/Cough Etiquette

Respiratory hygiene is a term adopted by CDC and DPH to describe measures that can be taken to decrease the risk of spreading respiratory illnesses by droplet and airborne transmission. A universal " respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette" policy should be implemented and used consistently in schools. Such a policy should include the following:

  • Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing ;

  • Dispose of used tissues in a wastebasket; and

  • Practice hand hygiene often.

During the "cold and flu" season, have plenty of tissue s and alcohol-based hand rubs available for use. Hang posters and signs to remind people about cough etiquette and hand hygiene. And remind parents/guardians to keep sick children home from school.