Post-exposure and Other Emergency Procedures

Immediately report any exposure to blood to the team member responsible for managing exposures. Prompt reporting is essential. If post-exposure treatment is recommended, it should be started as soon as possible (ideally within 72 hours).

When an exposure occurs:

  • Provide immediate care to the exposure site.
  • Thoroughly wash puncture wounds/cuts with soap and water.
  • Flush mucous membranes with a sterile solution of water or saline. If sterile solutions are not available, use clean potable water.

No data have demonstrated that using antiseptics or squeezing a wound reduces the risk of transmission of a bloodborne pathogen. Using a caustic agent such as bleach is not recommended.

Review health information with the source patient and if possible, test the patient for HIV. Rapid HIV tests (such as OraSure’s ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test) are available, delivering in minutes, rather than days important diagnostic information that determines the need for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Part of the trip planning process should be ensuring that at least one member of the team is familiar with exposure incident recommendations and the PEP medications currently recommended for exposure incidents are available.

Immediately upon returning from the mission, any team member who sustained a blood exposure should consult with a qualified healthcare professional for further follow-up. Follow current public health guidelines for post-exposure management as outlined in Appendix G - "Treatment for Exposures".