Sep 18, 2002
How difficult is it to be infected by a splash to the face? Could HIV be transmitted by water that has splashed in the eye, or does it have to be blood? If it is blood, then what is the risk level associated with that? I have read that it has to come into contact with broken skin or mucous membranes. What are classifed as mucous membranes?And is there any risk at all if the skin is not broken? Could expressed zits be a possibility? Sorry for the barrage, but I work as an embalmer's apprentice and I am concered for my wife and me.
Response from Ms. Breuer
As an embalmer's apprentice, you really owe it to yourself and those around you to learn all you can about HIV, other diseases, and protection. The mucuous membranes that could be exposed to infectious fluids in your work are your eyes, nose and mouth. Do you have protective gear for the face? Do you wear it? If you have broken skin (cuts, exzema, rashes), do you cover it before working? Those would be appropriate forms of infection control in your work.
Water to the eye? No. Blood to the eye? Potentially. Goggles? Absolutely. Gloves? Without question. Please go to the section of this website and other reliable ones that explain transmission. You'll find that transmitting HIV is harder than you think. In your job, I'm most concerned about splashes to the eye, so check with your professional association about their guidelines for infection control, and then follow them--for the sake of yourself and those around you. Good luck in your career!
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