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Injuries and Exposures

Exposures to blood/body fluids and other potentially infectious materials should be reported immediately to University Health Services.

What is classified as an exposure to blood/body fluids?
An exposure occurs when there is a puncture, scratch, laceration, splash, prolonged skin contact or contact with broken skin involving blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials.
What kinds of body fluids and materials are potentially infectious?
Body fluids of concern include: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, and other body fluids visibly contaminated with blood. Any unfixed tissue or organ from a human is potentially infectious as are cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and culture medium or other solutions from experimental animals infected with HIV or hepatitis B.
What should I do if I am exposed?

If you are exposed to someone's blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials, do not ignore this exposure. 

Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Take appropriate first aid measures (clean wound with soap and water; flush mucous membranes with water/saline for 15 minutes).
  2. Get the name, medical record number and location of exposure source.
  3. Notify your supervisor/preceptor so he/she can complete the Tennessee First Report of Injury and mail it to Risk Management within 48 hours.
  4. Report, in person, to University Health Services ® 910 Madison Ave, Suite 922.
  5. If exposure occurs after hours, call 901.448.5630 to get the provider on call. It is very important that you are seen at University Health Services if possible, to prevent any charges from other facilities.
What should I do if I am exposed to the blood or body fluid from an animal source?

Animal care workers are at risk for rabies, herpes B virus, Q-fever, and other zoonotic infections. All faculty/staff who are exposed should report to UHS.

(NOTE: You will still need to come to UHS on the next business day to ensure proper documentation and follow-up if you are seen in the Emergency Department.)

Remember: Post exposure prophylaxis should be initiated as soon as possible if indicated (preferably within 1-2 hours after exposure but up to 24 hours after the exposure).

If you have had a blood and body fluid exposure, please follow the following instructions.

  1. You MUST report to University Health Services (UHS) after an exposure if it happens during regular business hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Monday through Friday (closed daily from 1:00 – 2:00 pm)
  2. If the exposure happens after hours, on weekends or holidays, report to the facility’s Employee Health Office or Emergency  Department. If the exposure occurs at a hospital, go to the Emergency Department at that hospital. If it occurs on campus at times when UHS is closed, go to Methodist University Hospital or Regional One Medical Center. 
  3. All follow up care is to be scheduled at UHS.

If you are unable to be seen at University Health Services for your initial visit, it is VERY important that the facility file all charges on your insurance. The UTHSC campus sponsored plan has this coverage. If you are on another insurance plan, other than United HealthCare Student Resources Insurance, you should verify that this coverage is in your policy.

For students outside of the Memphis area, please report to the facility’s Employee Health Office or Emergency Department. This facility will inform you of the follow-up process. It is very important that you contact University Health Services at 901.448.5630 to notify them of the exposure. Please contact University Health Services if you encounter any problems with the exposure and follow-up process. 

If you receive any bills for charges related to your exposure after the insurance claims have been filed, contact Selinda Johnson at 901.448.5064. All efforts are made so that the student has no out pocket expense.

Helpful Links

Several resources are available that provide guidance to the healthcare provider regarding the management of occupational exposures. These resources include:

Last Published: Aug 25, 2020