Ask the expert: Squeezing out blood after a needlestick

By: May 18th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: What is the recommendation for staff following a needlestick? Should a staff member “milk” or squeeze the point of entry before washing hands? Does OSHA or another regulatory body provide guidance in support of this practice?

A: Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis is the guiding document that the Bloodborne Pathogens standard references for postexposure management for occupational needlesticks. On this matter it says:

Treatment of an Exposure Site
Wounds and skin sites that have been in contact with blood or body fluids should be washed with soap and water; mucous membranes should be flushed with water. No evidence exists that using antiseptics for wound care or expressing fluid by squeezing the wound further reduces the risk of bloodborne pathogen transmission; however, the use of antiseptics is not contraindicated. The application of caustic agents (e.g., bleach) or the injection of antiseptics or disinfectants into the wound is not recommended.

Make sure your initial and annual staff bloodborne pathogens training includes instructions on what to do immediately following a needlestick.

You can quickly find the recommended steps for first aid following a needlestick or mucous membrane exposure on the NIOSH Bloodborne Infectious Diseases web page and in HCPro’s OSHA Program Manual for medical facilities.

Get into compliance with HCPro’s Basic OSHA Compliance Manual Kits for medical or dental practices. Receive bimonthly electronic manual updates through your newsletter subscription that keep your regulatory manual up to date and in compliance!

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