Apr 22, 2012
Hi Dr. Barbara, Please shed some light on this: I used an explorer proble on a patients gingiva what caused a light bleeding. I then left the explorer on my tray for approximately 2-3 minutes. When I tried to reach another material, I felt a prick on my thumb. I then removed the glove, cleaned my thumb with ethanol, and although I squeezed it, no blood came out. I only noticed an almost imperceptible redness. However, I felt a little stinging/burning sensation with the ethanol what made me freak out with the possibility of the patients blood coming in contact with my capillary vessels. Is it possible to feel the stinging from the ethanol, yet no contact with the blood stream? It is funny how this happened, and no blood present. The finger became very slightly sensible to touch. Perhaps my risk for HIV is low, and for HCV? Could you please explain my risks given what I reported to you? I would very much appreciate as I live alone in a strange country with no one to talk about this incident.
Response from Dr. McGovern
It sounds like you got a superficial stick with a solid instruction with no visible blood. I think this is very low risk.
I always think that it is reasonable to get follow-up testing when there is risk occupationally. However, if it would be difficult to accomplish because of your situation, I would not worry about this. Sounds very low risk.
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