Precautions that might be helpful

This is a copy of the text of two messages to M. Paul Cook about the dangers of infection with AIDS and Hepatitis, and what precautions might be helpful when dealing with a high risk population. (Some editing was done).

Fm: Carl Lopez/SC 73100,2526
To: M. Paul Cook/B.C. 73207,3470


The POG has got an excellent section on AIDS... I'll hit some of the high points:

Wear gloves... when dealing with someone who is bleeding (or when handling body parts after an MVA, or as part of evidence collection). The same goes for body fluids. One caveat... you can't always tell by looking whether someone has (or is at risk for having) the HIV virus, so treat everyone as if they *might* have it. Use *latex* gloves... they're the least permeable, and the strongest. Be careful when searching pockets... pat down from outside first, and carefully. Some perps set their syringes in their pockets with the needles (uncapped) pointing upwards just to stick you. One company makes a neat little plastic container (available in white or black for EMS or cops) that attaches to your equipment belt and carries a pair of latex gloves... nice idea, and keep a few spare pairs in your vehicle's trunk. Replace the gloves at regular intervals... they *will* break down with time and exposure to pollution (just like the old condoms we used to keep in our wallets..<G>..).

At work, whenever I have an open wound/scratch/etc, I spray it at regular intervals with a spray bandage (such as "New Skin"). This increases my protection. I have to respray about every two hours, but then again, I'm also washing my hands after every patient. (The New Skin container is as small as the smallest Cap Stun bottle).

Disinfectants... *DEFINITELY*. One of the best is "Betadine" (which is available in small wipe-packets, like alcohol), but be aware that the HIV virus is not too hardy, and even a good hand cleaning (soap and water, or alcohol, or "Handi-Wipes") will do a pretty good job against it, if nothing else is available. Remember that the earlier the washing, the better off you are (even if it is just soap and water). (This goes for dog bites also).

If you are bitten, stabbed, etc... have (if legally possible) the suspect tested for HIV (immediately, and every six months for two years)... the same goes for you. Have the blood in the syringe tested (again, if possible)... it may not belong to the suspect! Unfortunately, this will raise your anxiety levels, and usually unnecessarily, but it's what's recommended.

Finally... there are diseases out there that are a whole lot easier to catch from a perp than AIDS... and just as nasty. One that I'm thinking of in particular is *Hepatitis*. All of the precautions mentioned for the HIV suspect will help protect you from the other communicable diseases. Some additional things you can do:

1) Keep up to date on your tetanus shots (every 10 years) 2) Get your Hepatitis B vaccination!!! Hepatitis is now **preventable** get your shots! Please!!!


(Did I miss anything? If there's anything in particular, let me know. The Toronto Metro PD has a nifty videotape on AIDS that they'll probably share).

ADDENDUM: In a later (unsaved) message I mentioned that the dangers of ANY human bite are extreme... they become *badly* infected, and do so *quickly*! So, if you're bitten (even if by a loved one): Wash it immediately, put some antibiotic ointment on the bite, and see your doctor to get antibiotics started ASAP. Human bites are bad news, a helluva lot worse than an non-human animal bites!

Go Back to Shy David's Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Page.