I work at a mental health facility. A couple of days ago two clients got into a huge fight. One client suffered severe injuries. I was the first nurse on scene. Upon arrival the client was gushing blood from his nose and a puddle of blood was on the floor. The client is Hep C positive. Other staff helped to keep the two clients separated while I frantically attempted to assess and treat injuries. I had to change my gloves a few times when they became to soiled with blood. I am worried I may have touched the client momentarily without gloves, or unconsciously touched my face-brow or nose with bloody gloves, during the incident. At first I wan't worried about Hep C exposure but now that I've had some time to reassess the situation my mind is starting to imagine all the ways I may not have properly protected myself.
My DON does not think I had a "technical" Hep C exposure- no needles, no open skin, no blood to blood contact etc. However I'm still worried. I want to test myself anyway. I've read about the window period and it varies from source to source. Some say as short as 2 weeks, some say as long as 6 months. I need to know ASAP. I have a boyfriend and we have a romantic summer vacation planned. Do I need to avoid intimate contact with him until I know for sure I don't have hep C?
What are the chances of transmission in your opinion and what is the most up to date "window" period?
We cannot give medical advice. I'm sorry this happened.
Relax. There is no risk of exposure with intact skin:
("cut and stick" exposure is just 1.8% anyway)
HepC RNA test become positive in 1 to 2 weeks postexposure if you really want to get poked and burn some $$$:
HCV FAQs for Health Professionals | Division of Viral Hepatitis | CDC
RNA test is NOT screening and you'll have to either find a compliant provider to get referral or face that your insurance won't pay for it. The 3 to 12 weeks and longer is about antibodies. They are looked for in screening tests, which cost much less but take more time to get positive or negative. But counting the circumstances (possible exposure of intact skin) you have risk as close to 0 as it gets. Even CDC which tends to overblow things a bit doesn't recommend screening for such cases.
If still in doubt, go to your primary care provider.
Please discuss with your Occ Health office.
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