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Universal Precautions

Body Substance Isolation for Everyone


Updated January 23, 2014

The most common hazard faced by medical rescuers is the threat of communicable disease. Professional rescuers follow standard practices and use personal protective euipment (PPE) when providing medical care to victims. These practices are commonly referred to as universal precautions or body substance isolation.


Universal Precautions

  1. wash hands before and after each medical procedure (may use a waterless hand cleaner)
  2. wear gloves whenever there is a possiblity of coming in contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials (body fluids and tissues)
  3. wear full-body gowns whenever there is a possibility of blood splashing onto the rescuer
  4. wear face masks and eye protection whenever there is a possibility of blood splashing into the rescuer's face
  5. dispose of all contaminated sharp objects in an appropriate puncture-proof container
  6. dispose of all contaminated personal protective equipment in an appropriate container marked for bio-hazardous waste
Lay rescuers should consider following universal precautions as much as possible. To adequately follow universal precautions, a rescuer must have appropriate personal protective euipment available. Make sure first aid kits contain - at a minimum - gloves, a CPR barrier, and eye protection.

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