Cleaning Up Blood From A Cut
You’ve cut yourself, and now you’re bleeding. All you can think about is the worries and scares of having hep C and “tainted” blood. We have all done it, cut yourself and bled everywhere. But knowing that you are infected with a blood-to-blood contracted disease adds worry and stress about leaving traces of blood anywhere.
How long can the hep C virus live on surfaces?
Research shows that hepatitis C can live on surfaces for several days, or even weeks (if left uncleaned and unsterilized).1,2 With this fact, you know that leaving traces of blood means potential exposure to those around you. Hepatitis C can be transmitted from an unclean surface or utensil to an open sore or cut of an unsuspecting individual. This is why it is extremely important to be aware of any blood that you have accidentally dropped on surfaces or utensils.
What should you do if you cut yourself?
First and foremost, immediately address your wound, and then address the area you may have contaminated. It has been said that the best way to clean and sterilize surfaces from hepatitis C is to use bleach. At the right concentration (not too diluted), bleach will kill any surface trace of hep C and sterilize it.3 Accidents happen anywhere and at any time. We all know this. No one intends to cut and hurt themselves, but we need to be proactive and precautious now in dealing with possible contamination.
To address this concern, I got an old used baby wet wipe box (plastic) and took strong sturdy paper towels, tore them apart, separated them, and then placed neatly in this plastic box. I then took 1-part pure bleach to 10-parts water and mixed well. I then coated the towels I had just laid into my plastic box. I recommend the plastic box as it keeps the towels moist with a tighter seal. You want the towels to not be soaking wet to where you must wring them out to use, but wet enough that when you use you see the wetness left behind where you wiped surface. I recommend changing out your box weekly to keep the freshest bleach mixture possible. Sitting in our cars, in very hot/cold temperatures, etc. could potentially cause the mixture to become less effective.
Buying the right products
Most Clorox or Lysol wipes that you purchase in the store do NOT contain bleach. PLEASE know this. Recently, I was in the store to purchase a box, thinking I would save myself time in making up my own concoction. But when I got to looking at ingredients, I saw that no bleach was listed.
Keep in mind, too, that although bleach is the best suggested sterilizer out there to help protect against the transmission of hep C, it is not 100%. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that it is about 95% effective. So, there is still the slight risk of infection at 5%. Be safe, be smart, and protect those around you.
Does reading hep C patient stories aid you in your journey?