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Needlestick Cleansing
Nov 16, 2001

I am a nurse on a ward that has many patients with HIV and/or hepatitis. Unfortunately on rare occasions a needlestick injury occurs. There is a lot of disagreement on what is the best way to clean the wound immediately following a needlestick. What is the best way to clean the wound in order to decrease transmssion of HIV?

Response from Mr. Kull

You should consult the "Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis" (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5011a1.htm?) for detailed information on your question.

The following excerpt from the document answers your question directly:

"Wounds and skin sites that have been in contact with blood or body fluids should be washed with soap and water; mucous membranes should be flushed with water. No evidence exists that using antiseptics for wound care or expressing fluid by squeezing the wound further reduces the risk of bloodborne pathogen transmission; however, the use of antiseptics is not contraindicated. The application of caustic agents (e.g., bleach) or the injection of antiseptics or disinfectants into the wound is not recommended."

RMK



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