Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

When you are caring for another person, there's always a chance that you might be exposed to the person's body fluids, such as blood, saliva, urine, or vomit. This can happen if you're stuck by a needle or if body fluids splash into an open cut, or into your mouth, nose, or eyes. You can also be exposed if someone coughs or sneezes near your mouth or eyes.

When something like this happens, it can be scary. The biggest concern is getting a disease. You may need repeated tests to check for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV infection. You may need other tests too. The first tests may not show any infection, but your doctor will need them to compare with later tests.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about follow-up tests. You may need tests at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and possibly at 9 months. It takes this long for some diseases to show up on tests.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Clean the area as instructed by your doctor.
  • Be safe with medicines. If your doctor prescribed medicine to protect you from disease, make sure you take all the medicine as directed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • You have new symptoms, such as belly pain or fatigue.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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