If you’re worried about your job putting you at risk of catching a disease, you have every reason to be concerned. I understand. The Covid-19 pandemic certainly put a lot of everyday risks of disease exposure at the forefront of our minds. However, in terms of lethality, the disease that killed 600,000 Americans is still lower than many. Bloodborne illnesses pose some of the biggest risks to our long-term health, even though they are often overlooked. Luckily, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Let’s talk about how your profession might benefit from bloodborne pathogens training. Why Training Is Important Bloodborne illnesses have some of the most lethal diseases under their umbrella, and anything that can be done to avoid the spread of them should be done immediately. While the Covid-19 pandemic has been raging through the world, there have been more silent pandemics going on for decades below the surface like HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis, and other serious illnesses that have long-lasting effects. While harder to spread, many of these diseases are far more lethal than Covid-19 and have taken a lot longer to stop or even slow the spread. This is why over 1.2 million Americans are currently infected with HIV, one of the biggest killers of the late 20th century. Stopping that spread should be our next mission as a country. There Are No Cures Hepatitis B, syphilis, and HIV are the most serious illnesses you can get from improper exposure to blood, and none of them have a known cure. These diseases will stay with you for life and cause serious complications throughout the rest of it. HIV specifically, while it used to be considered an utter death sentence, is not considered a “life sentence”, meaning you will have to be in and out of hospitals and on serious medications for the rest of your life just to stay alive. Hepatitis B is a serious illness that can start showing symptoms in just a couple of weeks after exposure. These symptoms can be treated with antibiotics, but relapses in the illness are extremely common and impossible to cure. Syphilis, especially neurosyphilis, don’t just cause rashes or discomfort. In the later stages of these diseases, they are known to cause nerve, brain, eye, and heart damage. It’s Your Best Protection All it takes is one improper exposure, even an accidental needlestick, and you have these diseases forever. If you’re thinking these diseases aren’t common enough to worry about, think again. They are in every region of the United States, they kill people indiscriminately, and they have been around for a long time. Since one mistake is all it takes, education really is your only line of defense. While anybody could benefit from the proper training, there are many professions that have a higher risk than others, so let’s talk about those. If you don’t see your job listed on here, remember that the training is still for everyone! Who Needs Bloodborne Pathogens Training? Hospital Workers This is the obvious one, but we want to emphasize that this should be down the line. Nurses, doctors, security, receptionists, and anybody in a hospital or urgent care setting should have this training to avoid potential hazards. Bloodborne pathogens training for medical professionals is an obvious choice, as they are the most likely profession to need the skills taught in that training. Nurses and other healthcare workers will be exposed to many different people with many different health complications, and any one of them could be a bloodborne illness that you need to treat with care. The same thinking applies to hospital and hospice volunteers. Even if you are coming in to help out some people who are in need, accidents happen, and hospitals are one of the most high-risk places for these types of illnesses. Dentists Training for dentists is crucial because saliva can often carry blood itself, but dental procedures make it far more likely to carry blood and bloodborne illnesses. When you drill into a tooth or even floss a patient’s teeth, there is likely to be blood. If you are a dentist, learning how to properly care for that is important for the safety of you, your hygienists, the rest of your staff, and your patients. Having all staff trained in a dentist-office setting is also beneficial to the office as a whole. Emergency Responders This includes police, firefighters, and EMTs. As an emergency responder, no matter your location or job title, you know that if you show up to 100 calls in a month, you’re almost guaranteed to see blood in a few of them. Having the right training could save your life, the lives of your coworkers, and the lives of others at the scene you are called to. It isn’t just seeing blood already at the scene. How often does a paramedic have to insert IVs or Narcan? If you’re injecting people with anything, you need to know how to properly protect yourself from bloodborne pathogens. Covid-19 Vaccine Administrators The government, in its initiative to increase the rate of vaccine distribution, lowered the restrictions of who can administer these doses. This included firefighters, pharmaceutical workers, and more. If you fall into that category, you are working around needles and piercing people’s bodies with them. This means training is extremely beneficial to you. Childcare Workers If you are a childcare worker in any capacity, you know one thing. Kids hurt themselves. Accidents happen in childcare all the time, and any of them could result in blood. Other children are extremely vulnerable to new illnesses, as their immune systems are not fully developed. Because of this, childcare workers should have mandatory training to learn how to handle bloodborne pathogens. While you will not have to provide emergency services beyond first aid, you will have to know how to properly sanitize or dispose of any materials that made contact with blood to protect yourself and other children and staff in the facility. Once you have the training, it is also appropriate to talk to the children at your facility and discuss the expectations of the children in the event of an accident. Make sure they know not to touch anything in the event they are bleeding, and that they tell an adult right away. Kitchen Workers Kitchen workers and, by extension, anybody working around knives or other sharp objects. This includes butchers and fishermen, as the risk of cutting is high. A chef can cut themselves at any point in their day, and they can range in severity. Not only that, plates break, slips happen, and other risks will always be posed in a kitchen that can lead to bleeding. Learning how to properly handle this is the safest option for customers and staff alike. Trades Workers If you are a carpenter, a tree worker, or anybody using power tools or saws regularly for work, you could benefit from training. A cut from a chainsaw or circular saw is almost guaranteed to make a mess, and it can happen to the most experienced workers. No matter what trade you’re in, there is so much room for injury and bleeding. Nailguns, saws, knives, drills, and just about every tool you can think of have the potential for serious accidents. With many trades jobs close behind it, tree work is considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the US. Because of this, learning how to properly manage the aftermath of injuries is crucial to the safety of the entire crew. Social Workers Social workers or volunteers may not sound like an obvious choice, but if you are working around people who use drugs that require needles like heroin, then training is beneficial. Learning how to handle sharps and proper use and disposal of needles can not only help you in the event of an emergency but also give you the tools to educate those who need it the most. Overall, if you’re working with the less fortunate, you are at a higher risk of interacting with people suffering from addiction. Not only does this increase your chances of an accidental needlestick, but it increases the chances that they are already infected with a bloodborne illness, as sharing needles is common among users. Arm Yourself With Knowledge Bloodborne pathogens training is your best defense from exposure to bloodborne illnesses. Remember, accidents happen. Protect yourself and those around you, take the training and stay up to date with our latest news about these diseases and how you can protect yourself.