Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Blood and Body Fluid Precautions

Blood and Body Fluid Precautions

Overview

What are blood and body fluid precautions?

Blood and body fluid precautions are used to prevent transmission of diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. These precautions are used by health care workers and people who provide first aid when they may be in contact with blood or body fluids. Precautions may include protective barriers, such as gloves, gowns, masks, or eye protection.

These precautions also apply to other body fluids, including breast milk, semen, rectal and vaginal fluids, and fluid that surrounds a fetus or organs inside the body.

Why are these precautions important?

Although skin provides some protection from exposure to potentially infectious substances, it is strongly recommended that health professionals use blood and body fluid precautions for further protection when they are providing health care. These precautions also help protect you from exposure to a potential infection from your health professional in the unlikely event that you come in contact with the health professional's blood.

The American Red Cross recommends that everyone use blood and body fluid precautions when giving first aid.

Are blood and body fluid precautions always needed?

The best practice is to always use blood and body fluid precautions, even when you can't see any blood and there's no chance that blood is present.

How can you reduce your risk of exposure to blood and body fluids?

Blood and body fluid precautions involve the use of protective barriers such as gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection. These reduce the risk of exposing the skin or mucous membranes to potentially infectious fluids. Health care workers should always use protective barriers to protect themselves from exposure to another person's blood or body fluids.

The American Red Cross recommends that everyone use blood and body fluid precautions while giving first aid. You may wish to have gloves available in your home, office, or vehicle if you think you may be required to help another person in an emergency.

Taking the following precautions can help you minimize your risk of exposure to contaminated blood and body fluids.

  • Use gloves to protect you whenever you touch blood; body fluids; mucous membranes; or broken, burned, or scraped skin.

    The use of gloves also decreases the risk of disease transmission if you are pricked with a needle.

    • Always wear gloves for handling items or surfaces soiled with blood or body fluids.
    • Wear gloves if you have scraped, cut, or chapped skin on your hands.
    • Change your gloves after each use.
    • Wash your hands immediately after removing your gloves.
    • Wash your hands and other skin surfaces immediately after they come in contact with blood or body fluids.
  • Always wear a mask and protective eyewear if you are doing a procedure that may expose you to splashes or sprays of blood or body fluids.

    Masks and protective eyewear, such as goggles or a face shield, help protect your eyes, mouth, and nose from droplets of blood and other body fluids.

  • Always wear a gown or apron if you are doing a procedure that may expose you to splashes or sprays of blood or body fluids.

    Gowns or aprons protect you from splashes of blood or body fluids.

  • Take these precautions if you give injections to a family member or to yourself:
    • Use puncture-resistant containers to dispose of needles, scalpels, and other sharp instruments.
    • Do not recap needles.
    • Do not bend or handle used needles or disposable syringes.
  • Avoid touching objects that may be contaminated.
  • Learn first aid and CPR, so when you are faced with an emergency or injury, you will know what to do.

What should you do if you're exposed to blood or body fluids?

Here are some steps to take if you are exposed to blood and body fluids.

  • Wash your hands immediately after any exposure to blood or body fluids, even if you wear gloves.
  • Flush with water if you get splashed in the eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Contact your doctor right away for further advice if you are pricked by a needle (needlestick).

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Hepatitis B Hepatitis C Dealing With Emergencies HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details