The good news is that post-exposure prophylactic (PEP) medications, which protect against infections, are available for Hepatitis B and HIV.
There is a place to turn, 24 hours a day, to have a work-related exposure to blood or body fluids assessed. The BJC HealthCare Body Substance Exposure (BSE) Hotline minimizes the time between an exposure and the administration of PEP, thus decreasing the chance of infection. For less serious exposures, it provides workers with a reliable source of information and support to get them through an unsettling, anxious time. The BSE specialist provides counseling and factual information to minimize the exposed worker's fears and to help them make informed decisions.
Within 15 minutes of calling the hotline, a registered nurse trained as a BSE specialist will contact the caller. The BSE specialist talks with the worker about the exposure and the source of the blood or body fluids to assess the seriousness of the situation. A standard protocol is followed to ensure a comprehensive assessment. The BSE specialist works under the direction of an infectious disease physician's orders.
If the exposure warrants PEP treatment, the worker is referred to a nearby clinic or emergency room that stocks the appropriate drugs.
PEP is not recommended for all occupational exposures. Both the risk of infection and the possible side effects of drugs should be carefully considered when deciding whether to take post-exposure treatment. Exposures with a lower infection risk may not be worth the potential side effects associated with these drugs.
The BSE Hotline was created in 1998 to provide support to the employees of BJC HealthCare and was made available to BarnesCare clients in 2000. Since that time, the hotline has grown to cover more than 3,000 area employees in various industries and occupations
To learn more or to arrange for services, email BarnesCare
or contact a BJC corporate health consultant at 314.747.5859.