As history has proven time and time again, there is no avoiding the loss of blood. Anyone can lose blood at any time: from something as simple as getting a cut on your finger or stubbing your toe, from something as natural as a woman’s menstrual cycle, or more tragically, the loss of life, accidental or otherwise. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that cleaning up this red liquid of life is not as easy as one might expect, and it in fact requires special preparations to make sure that it is properly and safely handled and disposed.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I’ve cleaned up blood from a wound and nothing bad happened to me or anyone near me at the time. Why would cleaning up blood be such a big deal?”
To answer that question, let’s take a step back and talk about what blood even is. Found within every drop of blood are millions of cells – the most commonly known of which are the oxygen carrying red blood cells, the disease fighting white blood cells, and the blood-clotting platelets – all suspended in blood plasma. All of them together are responsible for maintaining all of the basic bodily functions of both humans and animals. However, much like other parts of the body, the blood can also contract unique pathogens such as the Hepatitis B and C viruses, as well as HIV. All of these diseases are well known for their difficult treatment process (with HIV in particular having no true cure as of yet) as well as their prevalence in today’s society, with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention noting in 2015 that there were over 1 million people with HIV in the US alone.
These blood-borne pathogens, as the name suggests, have blood as their primary carrier as well as their mode of transmission. In other words, these diseases can be spread to another person should they contact with the blood of a person infected with any of these pathogens. What is of particular concern is how easy one can come into contact with infected blood without him or her ever knowing it. This can happen in a variety of situations, from direct contact with one’s bloodstream through contaminated needles and other medical equipment to accidental physical contact with the diseased blood through the skin or any other body extremity.
By taking the necessary precautions when it comes to handling medical equipment, as well as generally avoiding physical contact with fresh blood, it is possible if not likely to nullify this problem completely. However, the hazards associated with blood don’t stop there. Another misconception held by a lot of people is that blood borne pathogens die once its carrier has dried out. Unfortunately, that is not the case. According to several sources, it is possible for HIV to survive on dried blood for up to a week under the right conditions, while blood infected with hepatitis B and C can continue to sustain the viruses for up to four days.
One thing that is worth noting, however, is that getting infected through skin contact alone is actually pretty rare. Despite this, it is still generally advisable to take the necessary steps to ensure that you are well away from any potential exposure to the contaminated blood. In fact, this is why blood is considered a biohazard by the CDC.
With all of this in mind, then, what should one do if he or she comes across blood? First things first, you should quickly assess the situation. How far away are you from the blood stain? Is the blood pooling and stagnant, or is it actively flowing? How much spilled blood is in the area? If you encounter a sizeable amount, you would ideally want to keep a reasonable distance from the blood to make sure that no parts of your body come into contact with it. You would also want to do the same to any bystanders within the area, and try to prevent anyone from gaining access to that area. The next thing you would want to do would to call a biohazard cleanup service, as well as law enforcement or the local fire department if the situation deems it necessary to do so.
Now, encountering such a scenario in real life is rather uncommon and therefore would not really apply to everyone; in fact, a lot of people can go their entire lives without seeing an actual pool of blood. Taking this into consideration, how do you deal with much smaller amounts of spilled blood – say, at home? Like earlier, the first thing to do is to assess the situation. In particular, you want to find out what surfaces the blood is on, as different materials from fabrics to glass to wallpaper will each have their own procedures for removing the blood stain and any pathogens in it completely.
We cannot stress enough that you should not try to clean blood stains yourself if you do not have the proper knowledge of safely handling and removing these biohazards. That is why it is almost always better to call blood cleanup experts like The Aftercare (that’s us!). Our firm offers cleanup services for a wide range of situations that are either too difficult or too dangerous. Our certified professional cleaners have extensive training, high-quality equipment, and years of experience in cleaning up biohazards such as blood and waste products, crime and accident scenes, industrial or residential sewage, attics and basements, and other tough and dirty jobs so you don’t have to. We pride ourselves on our 24/7 emergency response system, which makes sure that we are able to arrive at the cleanup area within Virginia and North Carolina in no longer than two hours at any hour of the day and at any day of the week – even on holidays. Our service offerings guaranteed to be of the highest quality every time, with reasonable and flexible pricing options to suit your needs. In case you will find yourself in need of our services, save the number 757-535-4367 so you will always have a direct line to us and get a free estimate for the job as soon as possible.