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occupational exposure ..i am so scared ( not answered...please hlep)
Aug 23, 2005

Dear Dr.Bob I work as a nurse and while inserting an IV was exposed to the patients blood ( i was not wearing gloves...you don't need to mention how stupid that was, i already know). I checked my hands for open cuts but did not see any. I even pored 3 bottles of chlorhexidine (alcohol) over my hands but felt no stinging. I did get some blood under my nails and was not able to see if i had any open cuts there but i assume if i did it would have hurt when the alcohol touched it. i questioned the patient regarding his health status and he assured me that he "was clean". I have had a HIV test (at 5 weeks) which came back with a negative result however it is now the 6th week and I have had a sore throat for about 4 days as well as headaches and a stiff neck. I am completely freaking out. Could this be related to HIV or just from stress. I am currently on my holidays and awaiting my 3 month test but it is all i can think about and it is ruining my holidays. Please help me!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your medical institution should have policies and procedures in place for potential occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens, including HIV and hepatitis. For all occupational exposures an incident report should be filed. Appropriate evaluation, testing, follow-up and, if necessary, PEP can then be undertaken as indicated.

What I can tell you about your situation is that HIV can not pass through intact skin. Your negative five-week HIV test is very encouraging. I strongly doubt your symptoms are related to HIV. Relax. Enjoy your holidays. File the incident report when you get back.

Dr. Bob



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