Remember, blood and bodily fluids do not have to be visible for you or your clients to get infected. The three most common blood-borne pathogens are Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, and HIV. While Hepatitis B can be prevented through a vaccine, Hepatitis C and HIV cannot, making it important that you and your team know how to prevent the spread of blood and bodily fluids.
How are Blood-Borne Infections Transmitted?
Blood-borne infections are caused by the transfer of infected blood, bodily fluids, and in some cases, saliva. In a salon or spa, they tend to be transmitted through coming into contact with contaminated instruments, surfaces, or through sharps injuries.
Examples of possible scenarios for transmission include contact with an open wound during a mani/pedi or blackhead extraction, or a spray of blood/body fluids during a waxing or piercing. While there is always a risk in the spread of a blood-borne infection, it is possible to prevent them from impacting your salon or spa. Here are a few tips.
Take Your Time
Rushing through an appointment or failing to focus on the task at hand can increase the chance of making a mistake that may expose you and the client to an infection, such as a cut cuticle, a needle prick, or even a skin irritation caused by a nail filer. Taking your time with every client no matter the type of service they are receiving can help prevent these irritations or minor injuries from occurring.
Clean and Disinfect Surfaces Correctly
As Hepatitis B can live on surfaces for approximately seven days and Hepatitis C can live on surfaces for up to three weeks, it is critical that surface cleaning and disinfection best practices are followed after every client!
All work surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected after each procedure, including areas such as workstations and treatment beds. Ensure you utilize a disinfectant product that meets the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standards for HBV, *HCV & *HIV such as Rejuvenate Disinfectants.
Reprocess and Dispose of Tools Correctly
Ensure you dispose of all single-use items after each client, such as needles, blades, or porous items made from foam, paper, and wood. If using sharps, ensure you have an approved sharps disposal container and handle the items with care.
All reusable instruments or equipment should be cleaned, disinfected or sterilized depending on the tool after each use.
For non-invasive items that may come into contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin such as comedone extractors, cuticle pushers or lash tweezers, a higher level disinfection is required, such as Prevention HLD8. The tools can be cleaned, rinsed, dried and then soaked in an immersion solution for the appropriate contact time for simple high-level disinfection.
Sterilization is only required for critical devices that come into contact with sterile tissues and are designed for invasive procedures such as body piercing. It is the facility’s responsibility to ensure the sterilizer meets testing requirements for their region.
Through understanding how blood-borne pathogens can spread, and putting the proper processes and procedures in place to prevent them, you can continue to do your best work.