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Blood in kitchen - messed up hands - dumb flatmate.
Feb 13, 2012

Hi Dr Wohl, I was in the kitchen and opened a cupboard when I noticed there was a blood smear on the door where I had touched it. I washed my hands with soap two minutes later and then put on latex gloves and wiped down the smear with undiluted bleach.

This was definitely blood as I asked my flatmate - who had been in there five minutes earlier if he had cut himself and he had.

My problem is that I have dermatitis on my hands from a soap allergy and parts of them are cracked and have little weeping blisters which sting if they get wet. They however, do not bleed. These areas came in contact with the blood smear.

The blood smear was fresh from my flatmate - but there was not allot of it (maybe a drop in total?) and it had begun to dry but not TOTALLY dry yet. I cant say how much got onto may hands as I didn't inspect them before washing them.

If you could please clarify whether I am at risk from this incident with the damaged skin on my hands being a viable route for HIV? And also - this kind of thing seems to happen fairly often with my flatmate and he seems to be pretty careless when it does happen. Is his carelessness putting me at risk? This is causing me allot of anxiety as I am living here with my wife and don't want to put either of us at risk.

Thank you for your help and apologies for the long question!

Response from Dr. Wohl

Bloody flatmates are a nuisance. There is the mess and then all this worry. That we are talking about a partially dried drop of blood, I would say your risk is pretty much nil even with your skin problems.

It might be a good idea to suggest a friendly HIV test to your clumsy roommate. If he is negative, you may feel a bit more relaxed in the kitchen, provided he is not slicing and dicing too close to you. DW



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