Avatar universal

stepped into blood


I suffer from blood-borne viruses anxiety. Recently I have managed to put my fears away, but yesterday it all started again.
I was visiting a shopping mall and I had to go to the bathroom. There were two spots of blood on the floor, I'm assuming it was period blood and I think it was dried. I stepped right into it with my shoes. Now, I know that blood can't pass from the bottom of my shoes to the inside, but I'm worried about transmitting it on the floors in my house and elsewhere when I'm walking in those shoes.
I know there is little chance for that blood to be actually infectious, but if it was, could it pass from the floor on the bottom of my shoes and later onto other surfaces, since it was dried, and cause some infection? I feel most anxiety about Hepatitis C.

Thank you and best regards.
6 Responses
Avatar universal
Any exposure to blood is a theoretical chance of infection, but what you are describing is only possible in the way that being hit by a meteor from space or attacked by a bear is possible.   Possible but highly, highly improbable.

Hepatitis C in blood can live outside the body for longer than most viruses, but according to the CDC, no longer than 3 weeks.  And it doesn't all survive for three weeks and then suddenly die / become non-infectous.   Most of it dies off rapidly in the first few days (around 90% of it) and then the rest dies off over time.   Temperature, humidity, ph level, type of surface it is on and exposure to UV light and play a factor in how long it survives.

For this to be of any danger, the following would have to happen:
1. The blood would have to contain Hepatitis C.   Only ~1% of the population is infected with Hep C, so right off the bat, there is a 99% chance that the blood is non-infective and therefore it doesn't matter what happens to it.
2. You would have to transfer some of the blood from the floor to the bottom of your shoe.  This would be more likely if the blood was still liquid, not so much if it was dry.
3. Any blood on the bottom of your shoe would have to remain stuck there while you walk around.  Chances are, most of it would come off with each step you took.
4. When you got home, any possible remaining blood would have to make it onto a surface that would then have contact with an deep, open, bleeding cut on your body.
5. It would then have to make it past your immune system to your liver in order to cause an infection.

All in all, a highly unlikely set of circumstances.   If it were that easy to become infected, everybody would have it.

To give you a little perspective, in health care settings, doctors and nurses who accidentally stick themselves with a needle that has just been used on a patient that they know is Hepatitis C positive only are infected at a rate of 3% of the time - 97% of the time, nothing happens.   What happened to you isn't even remotely close to a needle stick, so your odds of becoming infected are non-existent.

The fact that you are worrying about this sounds like it is going a bit beyond an ordinary phobia and may be OCD.   You should check out the OCD section of this website and do a little reading about OCD and see if any of the symptoms apply to you.

Avatar universal
Thank you very much. I know that I have some issues, actually I suffer from depression and anxiety disorder with panic attacks (I'm not a native English speaker, so I don't know if I translated it correctly :)). I'm aware that I have some problems that are OCD-like and most of the time I'm managing it and live normal life. Recently I read some facts about Hep C and then my OCD about Hep C began.
I'm so grateful for your response. Somewhere in my mind I know all the things you wrote, but then my fears take over me and I start to worry too much about situations that actually pose a minimal to none risk. This is the first time I actually asked a question about it and I'm really grateful for your response, since you managed to reactivate my rational part of mind. Thank you! :)  
Avatar universal
You're welcome!   Glad I was able to help.  Your English is very good - I never would have guessed that you weren't a native speaker.  What country are you from?

I know exactly how you feel - you know the facts but then that little "yeah but what if..." part of your brain kicks in and causes doubt and anxiety.  I myself have gotten worked up about some pretty far-fetched stuff.   But I've learned to control my OCD - the thoughts still come, but I'm able to identify and dismiss them.

Oh, by the way, if you really want to put this to rest, you could always clean off the bottom of those shoes with a 10:1 solution of water to bleach (10 parts water to 1 part bleach).   That will definitely destroy any germs pretty much instantly.   I suggest this not because I think there is anything there but because it will completely eliminate it as even an incredibly remote possibility from your mind.
Avatar universal
I am from Serbia, Europe. I say Europe just in case, cause people often mistake Serbia with Syria or Siberia. :)

I think I will not clean them up. I found out that cleaning "contaminated" stuff feeds my fears. And off course, the other part of me doesn't want to clean them cause I don't want to touch that contaminated bottom, even with my gloves on. :)

I will just try to convince myself there is nothing to fear and forget about it. I will also try to wear those shoes frequently as a sign of fight with OCD.
Avatar universal
I know where Serbia is - unlike most Americans, I actually know something about world geography.   You're down next to New Zealand, right?    ; )

Good for you on the shoes.   That's actually a great way of beating OCD - facing your fears.   It's the basis of cognative-behavioral therapy.   You expose yourself to a fear, let yourself get anxious but then after some time passes, it fades away.   You see that nothing bad has happened and future reactions to that same fear trigger are lessened.

You're going to be fine!    : )
Avatar universal
Haha, no, it's in the mid of Indian ocean.

Just joking. :D
Thanks for your support. It means a lot.
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