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Blood borne illness
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Blood borne illness

Last week I cut myself. I grabbed the (damp) kitchen cloth to mop up the blood and tossed it in the sink as I rushed to the doctor to have the cut treated. When I returned my husband had used the cloth to wipe down the counters and dinner table (yuck!) and fed the kids. This week my kids are sick (flu) - please tell me this couldn't have caused them to become ill? As far as I know I'm healthy (i.e. don't have any diseases like HIV or Hepatitis). Just wondering if there is anything else I could have transmitted to them this way? thanks.
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Dear Bcgirl13,

Thanks for posting your query.

I can understand your concern for your kids because of the symptoms that they are currently having.

These symptoms can be due to a viral infection which has coincidentally shown up when you had tossed the cloth in the sink. The flu or the viral infection that your kids have contracted has nothing to do with the cloth that was used on them.
Further, I would like to reassure you that transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B and C virus or for that matter, any infection which is transmitted through blood and blood products cannot be transmitted in the circumstances that you have described. Viruses need a host or human body to grow. Outside the body, they are not active and die very quickly when exposed to air.

Moreover for transmission of HIV and hepatitis B viruses, the modes of transmission are unprotected sexual intercourse with infected person, using needles or syringes which have been used by an infected person, blood transfusion of infected person or from mother to fetus. Basically, it is blood to blood transmission and virus gets transmitted only when the other person has some cuts or bleeding sores on his hands which come in contact with fresh secretions from an infected individual.

Since you are healthy and do not have any HIV or hepatitis, your kids cannot get infected just by touching the soiled cloth. Relax and ensure that you give plenty of fluids to your kids for the viral sickness. They may also be given acetaminophen (tylenol) if they have fever. However, do take them to a paediatrician for an evaluation if their symptoms don’t get better in a week.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Thank you for using MedHelp's "Ask an Expert" Service, where we feature some of world's renowned medical experts in their fields. Millions have benefitted from our service to get personalized advice for them and for their loved ones.

Best Regards,
Dr. Jasvinder Singh
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