Touched face with gloves, worried now

  1. Hello all, I recently started at a clinic as a patient care tech in dialysis. I have not begun cannulation of patients access yet, so I have had little direct contact with patients, aside from helping them up and grabbing something from their bag. I make sure that I sanitize often and change gloves, but there were a few times where I itched my face with gloves (around eye). I know from training they tell you not to touch yourself with gloves, but I think I got too comfortable and assumed there would be no harmful bacterial transmission.When I got home I thought about it and began stressing out.

    I don't think there was any blood on my gloves, the machine screens were clean. I don't know if management tries to scare you into infection control or if this is a legitimate concern.
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   adventure_rn
    Quote from PTtech
    but I think I got too comfortable and assumed there would be no harmful bacterial transmission.
    Quote from PTtech
    I don't know if management tries to scare you into infection control or if this is a legitimate concern.
    Per our TOS we can't give medical advice, so if you have an issue arise (i.e. an eye infection) that you think is related, you should see your primary care provider or employee health. That said, assuming you weren't touching a bodily fluid first you're probably fine.

    HOWEVER, you should try not become complacent and assume that there would be no harmful bacteria on your gloves. Universal precautions exist to protect healthcare workers (and patients) because healthcare workers have been harmed in the past. It is a legitimate concern. In our line of work, you never know who is or is not infected with a transmissible disease. Make a conscious effort not to touch anything clean (your face, your supplies, any equipment) with dirty gloves; over time, it will become second-nature. Once you get in the habit, appropriately donning and removing gloves takes a split second.
  4. by   cayenne06
    I've sprayed myself in the face with herpes juice when I fumbled with the collection tube. I've dipped my hair in amniotic fluid when baby came unexpectedly. And I've itched my face inadvertently with a gloved (but free of body fluid) hand.

    As a rule, any time you are wearing gloves they should be clean. Any patient contact is a cue to change your gloves. If your gloves are soiled they come off immediately. And hopefully you were already taught this- never ever walk around gloved for no reason. Ever. It's gross because then no one knows if you are typing with goopy gloves or not. It also makes your hands all sweaty and yucky, increasing your surface bacterial load.

    If you touched a patient's intact skin and then scratched your face, the risk of infection is no different than shaking a stranger's hand, barring special circumstances of course. I do not wear gloves unless there is potential for body fluids. I never wear them for routine patient care unless it is indicated by the patient's medical situation. Sanitize before and after, wash your hands regularly, and remember that just because they are patients does not mean they have cooties Even if they did have cooties, they are rarely transmitted through casual contact.

    And again- glove only when indicated, and take them off as soon as you no longer need their protection. Never hang out wearing gloves. ALWAYS practice universal precautions, always always. It is easy to get complacent with this.

    But always consult a provider if you have any reason at all to be concerned about exposure to infectious agents.

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