Sample date: March 31, 2015

Wet snow ending late this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Risk of freezing rain early this morning. Snowfall amount 2 cm. Wind becoming northeast 20 km/h late this morning. High plus 4. UV index 4 or moderate.

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Wind Chill
-5C

Environment Canada
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Sexual Health Links

Needle Stick Injuries

Piercing–Things to consider

Sexuality clinics

Regional HIV/AIDS Connection

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Blood Borne Infections

This page was reviewed or revised on Monday, March 16, 2015 10:10 AM

How are Hepatitis B, HIV and Hepatitis C spread?

Hepatitis B and HIV are spread by exposure to blood, semen and vaginal fluid. Hepatitis B can also very rarely be spread by exposure to saliva. Hepatitis C is spread by exposure to blood. Sexual exposure is also believed to spread Hepatitis C but the risk is quite low.

The main method of spread for Hepatitis B and HIV in Canada is unprotected sexual contact with an infected individual. Other sources of infection include sharing of intravenous needles, and from an infected mother to her newborn child. Rarely, Hepatitis B can be transmitted by a bite from an infected individual. Hepatitis C is mainly spread through exposure to blood, through unprotected sexual contact or blood transfusion prior to 1990.

Other types of activities which should be avoided include tattooing or ear piercing with improperly sterilized equipment, and sharing razors and toothbrushes, or syringes used to inject drugs.

Hepatitis B, C and HIV can be transmitted by needle sticks from infected individuals. Infection of Hepatitis B and HIV can also occur when infected blood contacts non-intact skin, or the lining of the eyes, nose or mouth. Hepatitis B is much more contagious than HIV.

What are universal precautions?

Universal Precautions are a set of procedures designed to prevent the spread of blood borne illnesses in the occupational setting.

Under Universal Precautions, a person should assume that all blood is capable of transmitting HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. The person should take appropriate precautions to prevent this transmission.

Universal Precautions involve wearing gloves whenever there is contact with blood. Hands should be washed immediately after the gloves are removed. Masks and protective eye wear should be worn whenever blood is likely to be splashed into the face.

How should blood be cleaned up?

The following steps should be taken when cleaning up blood:

  • Wear gloves;
  • Soak up blood with disposable towels;
  • Disinfect the area with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water or use approved sanitizing wipes;
  • Discard disposable towels and gloves into a plastic bag and seal the bag;
  • Wash hands well;
  • Soak the mop in a bleach solution.

The Hepatitis B vaccine

People who may have contact with blood should be vaccinated against Hepatitis B.

The Hepatitis B vaccine is more than 95% effective in preventing Hepatitis B. Three shots are required - one initially, the second, one month later and the third, five months after the second.

The vaccine is extremely safe. It is produced artificially and does not contain any blood products. The main side effect is a sore arm where the needle is given.

The vaccine is free of charge for those who are:

  • Newborns of mothers who are Hepatitis B chronic carriers.
  • Household contacts and sexual partners of infected people.
  • People who are sexually active with multiple sex partners.
  • Parents on renal dialysis and those frequently requiring blood products (e.g. haemophiliacs).
  • People who have a needle stick injury in a non-healthcare setting.
  • People who have Hepatitis C.

For further information on bloodborne infections or the Hepatitis B vaccine please contact Lambton Public Health at 519-383-8331.

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