Oregon Board News - February 2007

Keeping Harmful Bugs at Bay 

Besides taking steps to prevent the spread of some of the newer, somewhat scary bugs out there such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), cosmetologists should continue to be vigilant in preventing the transmission of other infectious agents. 

While the bad news is that harmful microbes seem to be on the rise, the good news is that cosmetologists can keep themselves and their customers safe and healthy with proper preventive measures. 

MRSA is thought to be passed by local contact and often spread from hands to nose or other open membranes, according to a report from the Health and Safety Committee of the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). 

Requirements such as proper hand washing (OAR 817-015-0030(1), Serving Clients) and proper disposal or disinfection of equipment and materials (OAR 817-010-0068, OAR 817-010-0069) have been established to prevent transmission of all types of harmful microbes. 

Oregon regulations also specifically address how to prevent the transmission of other infectious agents, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B, C and D. 

Take Proper Precautions 

Practitioners may provide services if they are positive for HIV or hepatitis if they follow all current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards for public service workers. 

These standards also apply to practitioners providing services to customers who are HIV positive or who have contracted any of the hepatitis viruses.  

Practitioners should be particularly careful using sharp instruments, which could become contaminated by blood or other bodily fluids. 

Because the carriers of such viruses as HIV or hepatitis may not have symptoms of these blood-borne diseases, practitioners should treat bodily fluids from all customers with the same high standards of caution and to rigorously follow established safety and infection control practices as required by Oregon law. 

There is no published evidence to support casual transmission of HIV, for example by sneezing, coughing or touching.  Proper hand washing is important to prevent the spread of all infections.  Uniform body fluid precautions are ample to prevent transmission of HIV or hepatitis in the facility setting.  OAR 817-015-0010, Blood-Borne Diseases 

Blocking Bodily Fluids 

Oregon regulations require the following to prevent transmission of disease: 

1. Practitioners who have visible open sores or bleeding lesions on their hands or arms shall not have client contact until the lesions have healed to the scab phase or shall cover them with protective gloves and/or impervious bandages.  OAR 817-015- 0030(2), Serving Clients 

2. Practitioners shall wear single-use disposable or cleaned and disinfected protective gloves when performing services that routinely involve body fluid exposure, such as during a facial where blood, pus or weeping of the skin may be present or is likely to occur.  OAR 817-015-0030(3), Serving Clients 

3. Practitioners shall wear eye goggles, shields and/or a mask if spattering is likely to occur while services are being performed.  OAR 817-015-0030(3), Serving Clients 

4. Practitioners performing services on customers with skin conditions that are wet or weeping shall wear single-use protective gloves, which must be discarded after use on each customer.  OAR 817-015-0030(4), Serving Clients 

5. Disposable materials that come into contact with blood and/or body fluids, such as discharge from pustules, pimples and sebaceous glands, or that have been used in cleaning blood spills, shall be discarded.  OAR 817-015-0030(5), Serving Clients 

Dispose and Protect 

Any disposable sharp objects that come into contact with blood or other body fluids must be disposed of in a sealable rigid (puncture-proof) container that is strong enough to protect the practitioner, customer and others from accidental cuts or puncture wounds that could occur during the disposal process.  OAR 817-010-0060(7), Refuse and Waste Material 

Disposable materials coming into contact with blood and/or body fluids such as discharge from pustules, pimples and sebaceous glands must be disposed of in a sealable plastic bag (separate from sealable trash or garbage liners) or in a manner that not only protects the practitioner and customer but also others who may come into contact with the material, such as sanitation workers.  OAR 817-010-0060(6), Refuse and Waste Material 

Practitioners and/or facility owners must have both sealable plastic bags and sealable rigid containers available for use at all times services are being performed.  OAR 817-010-0060(8), Refuse and Waste Material 

As with any regulation, contact the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) to clarify any requirements you don’t understand fully.  We’re here to help! 

Kraig Bohot is Communications Officer at the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA), a state consumer protection agency providing centralized regulatory oversight of multiple health and related professions.  He can be reached at (503) 378-8667, ext. 4330 or at kraig.bohot@state.or.us.

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