Blood and body fluids safety

Many contagious diseases spread through blood and other body fluids, so it’s important to take precautions to prevent unnecessary exposure to them.  Body fluids include urine, feces, blood, saliva, human milk, nasal discharges, eye discharges, and injury and tissue discharges.

  • Treat all body fluids as if they are contagious.
  • Wash hands after any contact with blood, saliva, urine, stool, skin sores, or genital secretions.
  • Clean and sanitize all toys, surfaces, and other things that come into contact with body fluids.
  • Place all diapers, tissues, bandages, paper towels, and other disposable items that are contaminated with body secretions in a hands-free, lidded container (e.g. a foot-pedal operated can) lined with a disposable plastic bag and keep it away from food and other materials.  Make sure that children don’t retrieve things from the container or touch the inside of it.
  • Store clothing and other personal items contaminated with body secretions separately in plastic bags until they are ready for laundering.
  • Clean and sanitize or properly dispose of mops, rags, towels, and other cleaning items.
  • Stop biting, scratching, and other aggressive behavior that can draw blood.
  • Do not allow children to share toothbrushes, washcloths, teething rings, or other personal items.
  • Surfaces that are likely to come into contact with body fluids should be disposable, or they should be made of a material that can be sanitized.
  • Use latex gloves (or other barriers) and techniques that minimize potential contact of mucous membranes and openings in the skin to body fluids.
  • Do not touch and don’t let others touch surfaces that might be contaminated until they have been cleaned and sanitized.

Special Clean-Up Instructions

Spills of body fluids should be cleaned up and sanitized right away.  Be careful to avoid splashing any contaminated materials onto any mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth).

For floors, walls, bathrooms, tabletops, toys, kitchen counter tops, and diaper-changing tables that come into contact with body fluids:

  • Sanitize by spraying contaminated objects and surfaces with a household bleach solution.  Wet the objects and surfaces until they glisten, and leave the solution on the objects and surfaces for at least 2 minutes before drying with a paper towel or allowing to air dry.  It takes that long for the bleach to kill the germs. For information on how to mix your own bleach solution, read the Cleaning & Sanitizing topic.

For blood-contaminated material and diapers:

  • Dispose of these items in a plastic bag with a secure tie.

For floors, rugs, and carpeting that have been contaminated:

  • Clean by blotting to remove the fluid as quickly as possible.
  • Sanitize by spot-cleaning with a detergent-disinfectant.
  • Shampoo or steam–clean the contaminated surface as soon as possible.

Download the Blood & Body Fluids Safety Poster