Not Just For Seniors: What Are Universal Precautions And Why Should You Use Them?

By Rhonda Kay Leonarduhs-logo

Have you heard the term universal precautions? Universal Precautions are guidelines healthcare professionals follow to prevent the spread of infection, including influenza and other airborne diseases. It simply means using precautions when handling blood and other body fluids of ALL persons regardless of one’s knowledge of whether or not the person is infected with a specific communicable disease. Being aware of Universal Precautions guidelines will protect you and result in fewer illnesses for you and the people you care for.

What Precautions Must I Take In Caring For Someone?

  1. Wash your hands with soap and running water at regular times during your day. Common infectious diseases may be contracted from dirt and waste encountered in the home environment. When caring for a friend or family member promptly remove another person’s blood and body wastes from your skin by washing with soap and running water. Wash your hands before and after preparing food, performing personal care and housecleaning tasks, and after physical contact with the one you’re caring for.
  2. Avoid punctures with objects that contain blood of others.
  3. Handle ALL fluid discharges, particularly urine, vaginal secretions, mucous, or blood, wearing protective equipment, including mask, gloves, gown and eye protection. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when finished.
  4. Carefully dispose of trash that contains body wastes and sharp objects. Use special containers with plastic liners for disposal of refuse that contains blood or for any body spills that may contain blood.
  5. Wash soiled laundry in a washer set on HOT, and dry them in a dryer at HIGH heat.
  6. For disposal of sharp objects such as razors, use containers that cannot be broken or penetrated. Do not bend, break or recap needles. Handle diabetes lancets with caution to avoid needle sticks.
  7. Clean surfaces that have blood or body fluids containing blood in them with a 1:10 solution of bleach and water mixed fresh daily. Wash dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water. Rinse in very hot water, let them air dry.

Since the majority of all care is provided by informal caregivers, we encourage everyone to be aware of universal precautions and use them to protect the one’s you love.

This story is sponsored by United Homecare Services. If you are interested in finding out more or scheduling a no-obligation consultation, call 503-433-8079.