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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Protecting student athletes from bloodborne pathogens

The threat of exposure to bloodborne pathogens at schools for students and staff is high, especially for student athletes who can be injured during games.

The Indiana State Department of Health advises schools to have a person designated at each athletic event to assist injured students. They should be equipped with disposable gloves to prevent exposure to blood when treating bleeding students.

It also offers these tips for handling student injuries:

* bleeding students should be covered with bandages or wraps to prevent leakage of blood
* the injured student should perform his own wound care when possible
* students should be instructed not to handle other people’s blood
* lacerations with substantial bleeding should be treated promptly
* injured students should be allowed to return to the activity only after the wound has been securely covered
* if clothing or equipment is wet with blood, it should be changed
* skin contaminated with blood should be washed with soap and water
* disposable toweling should be used to clean all environmental surfaces when blood is present
* after each activity, any equipment or uniform soiled with blood should be laundered