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I am a medical assistant, the other day I was rinsing instruments that had been sitting in a soapy solution( I was preparing them to be autoclaved) while I was rinsing them, I think a droplet splashed in my eye, what are my chances of contracting something? I am very concerned about HIV?! Please help! I also wear contact lenses, I don't know if that makes a difference! Thanks--I'm deeply concerned!
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello.

Before I provide an answer, a couple of questions:

1. Were the instruments visibly bloody or covered in bodily fluids?
2. What type of "soapy" solution was being used?
3. Did you immediately flush your eye with water? (and remove your contact lense)
4. Did you report the "splash" to employee health?

Your risk is likely to be relatively low.

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
I didn't really see any visible blood, and the solution is the standard cleaner the practices soak their instruments in before being autoclaved, I removed my contact and flushed my eye approx. 15 minutes later, b/c i was still unsure if the droplet i felt was from the sink, and I did report it to my boss. I don't know if I am being a hypochodriac or not. How long can hiv live on instruments after they have been submerged in cleaner?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
HIV does not survive well on surfaces.

It would be very helpful if you were able to share with me the type of "standard cleaner" that the practice uses. Most likely, this cleaner is meant to kill the virus.

I encourage you to wear a barrier shield (face and mouth shield) or at least safety glasses when you are working with soiled instruments and the cleaning agent.

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Philip D Parks, MD, MPH, MOccH, F...Blank
Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School
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