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How can I protect myself when helping someone during a medical emergency?

 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine

During a medical emergency, always take protective measures to avoid coming in contact with another person's body fluids (blood, urine, sputum, secretions). Protective measures should also be taken during cleanup and disposal of materials used to care for the victim.

To reduce the risk of infection, follow these guidelines:

  • Always cover all your open skin areas.
  • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as: gloves, mask, CPR barrier mask (when giving rescue breathing), and goggles.
  • If possible, place a barrier between you and another person's body fluids.
  • Minimize the splashing of body fluids.
  • Wash hands and any exposed area with soap and water immediately after providing care, even if you were wearing gloves!
  • Handle sharp objects with caution.
  • Wear a mask if there's a risk of exposure to airborne disease.
  • Dispose of contaminated PPE in an appropriate container.
Contact your Primary Care Physician (PCP) immediately if you come in direct contact with another's body fluids, especially if you have concerns.
Doc's First Aid Guide: Read It Before You Need It

More About this Book

Doc's First Aid Guide: Read It Before You Need It

In a medical emergency, time is of the essence. "Doc's First Aid Guide" is an illustrated, first-aid pocket handbook designed to be used as a quick reference and includes the latest CPR guidelines....

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.