If I touch blood, is there a chance of getting HIV infected?
Q: I work in a pediatric medical office and input charges and payments, so I get all the charge slips. A few times the charge slips have come back to me with blood on them from the kids grabbing the slips after they have had a finger poke. Some have had quite a bit of blood. Not realising this, once I touched the blood as I was going through the paperwork. I do not have access to soap and water so I cleaned my hands and desk with alcohol and Lysol. Is there any chance of exposure to any infection? Also, there is one sink in the lab that is used to dump the urine from the many urine samples that take place all day (some have blood in the urine) and the employees use the tap water from that sink to make coffee and to wash their hands and coffee cups. How safe is this? I don't use that sink but deal with the people that do as they hand me papers, touch everything in the office I am also touching etc. Also, is alcohol effective in killing anything communicable including the HIV virus? I am in a bit of a panic as after I touch this I touch my own items, purse, car keys etc.
A:Though the actual risk is very small, it is not a good idea to make it a habit to touch blood, or blood stained material including dressings or paper with your bare hands, especially if the blood is still liquid and fresh. Most disinfectants kill disease agents and are sufficient to wipe on your hands, however some agents are better than others. A very dilute household bleach is very good as far as HIV is concerned. Using the same sink for dumping residual urine samples and for taking water for coffee etc is safe, but not very aesthetic! After all one takes water from the faucet and not from the basin of the sink.