Needle-stick Injury Information

What is a needle-stick injury or blood/body fluid exposure (BBFE)?

An injury involving exposure to blood or other human material is known as a needle-stick injury or blood and body fluid exposure (BBFE). Health care workers must take immediate action if they sustain such injuries.

BBFE puts a healthcare worker at risk of infection from blood borne viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV).

It is very important that BBFEs are managed correctly. Healthcare workers must be aware of, and have training in, BBFE procedures.

What to do in the event of a BBFE?

Step 1: Apply First Aid
  1. Immediately rinse the affected area under running warm water for at least 3 minutes
  2. Gently squeeze the puncture wound to flush out contamination
  3. Paint puncture wound with povidone-iodine (Betadine) or isopropyl alcohol 
  4. Cover with a dry, water proof dressing.

Step 2: Notify a Doctor

Notify a medical practitioner to arrange specimen collection.

The doctor may also choose to contact a Pathlab clinical microbiologist, and, in consultation with them, may decide that post-exposure prophylaxis is needed.

Prophylaxis should be administered within hours of exposure. It is used to reduce the risk of disease, and prompt reporting of needlestick blood or body fluid exposure is important to diagnosing appropriate management measures.

Step 3: Collect Source Person & Exposed Person Blood Specimens

  1. Inform patient (source) of exposure
  2. Take source person and exposed person bloods using SST (yellow top) tubes. Label the bloods correctly.
  3. Place blood tubes in specimen bags with forms.
  4. The source person can now leave.

Step 4: Send the Completed Forms and Bloods to the Lab Urgently

Please follow up on blood test results, using your internal procedures and practices. For any interpretation of results contact a Pathlab Clinical Microbiologist.

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