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mailroom mishap
Oct 10, 2002

This might sound silly... but a coworker had a household accident and scraped off a large layer of skin on her upper arm. When she came in it was oozy, but no longer bleeding, and covered by first aid cream. While reaching for a package in the mailroom, my hand and her arm collided, leaving cream and ooze on my hand. No obvious cuts on my hand... is something like this a risky occurrence?

Response from Ms. Breuer

Not silly at all. There's just nothing like an oozy wound, is there? It just sets off alarm bells in us. In this case, though, you can turn off the alarm bell. You have not had direct contact with the person's blood, and you did not have an opening in your skin that would allow the other person's fluids to have direct access to your bloodstream. So no, it's not risky in HIV terms.

But I assume you did wash your hands immediately following the event? Right? Soap and water do a great job of eliminating infectious things, and they help quiet the alarm bells, too.



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