Universal Precautions

Universal Precautions refer to the usual and ordinary steps all persons need to take in order to reduce their risk of infection from blood borne pathogens (such as HIV and Hepatitis B) as well as many other infectious organisms that can cause illness.

They are universal because they refer to steps that need to be taken in all cases, not only when a known infection exists.  They are precautions because they require foresight and planning to avoid exposure.

The contact with the following bodily fluids require careful attention to universal precautions procedures:

  • blood
  •  Drainage from nose/sinuses
  •  Drainage from wounds/sores
  •  Vomitus
  •  Secretions from mucus membranes
  •  Saliva
  •  Sputum (mucous from lungs)
  •  Feces
  •  Vaginal Secretions
  •  Urine
  •  Semen

Universal Precautions Components

  • Use Personal Protective Equipment-GLOVES
    • Gloves must be worn in the following situations
      • when direct contact with body fluids is anticipated (nose bleeds, bleeding cuts or scrapes, vomit)
      • when handling clothes soiled by urine, feces, vomitus, or blood
      •  when diapering children.
    • Gloves are used only once.
    • Gloves are kept in the first aid kit as well as in the kitchen.
  • Decontaminate after exposure
    • Clean area with a quaternary disinfectant
    • Remove gloves by peeling them off hands rolling glove outside in.
    • Discard gloves and contaminated materials by bagging and tying them in a plastic bag. Place in a second plastic bag and tie again.
    • Wash hands.
      • use liquid soap and warm water
      • wash vigorously (palms, backs, between fingers, under fingernails) for 20 seconds
      • turn off faucet with paper towel after drying hands thoroughly.