There is a risk of cross-infection as diseases can pass between the casualty and first aider and between casualties.
It is therefore a requirement of the first aider to take reasonable precautions to prevent cross-infection.
It is essential that as a first aider, you approach all situations involving body fluids: saliva, vomit, blood, urine and faeces, etc. as potentially infectious, adopting appropriate precautions to protect yourself.
Precautions to be taken
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is any form of equipment used to minimise the risk of cross contamination. This may include but is not limited to:
Minimum Hygiene Requirements for Resuscitation
To protect yourself:
To protect others:
Disposal of Contaminated Materials
Minor dressings such as adhesive strips should be disposed of by placing them in a plastic bag and disposing of them in your normal household waste collection bin.
Major spills however should be dealt with by placing all disposable contaminated items i.e. clothing, into a leak proof container, such as a large heavy duty plastic bag clearly labeled ‘Infectious Waste’. These should then be disposed through an approved infectious waste disposal system.
Needles and sharps should be disposed of safely in accordance with local, state, territory and commonwealth authorities.
Soiled clothes that have not been ruined should first be rinsed in cold water then washed or cleaned as normal. Commercial laundries should have their own policies and procedures in place for their staff to follow for managing blood stained items.
After a first aid incident a first aider should ensure that all contaminated items are gathered and disposed of correctly, ensure that the area is cleaned and sanitized then wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.