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Published Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blood Borne Pathogens (Or, how I learned to stop worrying and wash my hands)

caption: It’s on everything. Wash your hands.

Every now and then, we at Bodyartforms get together for a cross-company activity. Sometimes it’s volunteering, sometimes it’s just for fun, and last week’s big activity was all about Blood Borne Pathogens. Because that’s how we roll.

For the main part of the class, we all gathered in the Big Room and sat either on the couch or the floor, depending on age (I was on the couch, and because I was cold I received a large blanket. For real.)

“See if you can spot the cross contamination,” Rick Frueh said, as he queued up another video for us. Rick teaches the Blood Borne Pathogens course all across the country to piercers. In the video he showed us, a nurse demonstrated using gloves and bandaging a patient. Meanwhile, she touched the arm rail of the patient’s bed with her bloody glove.

Gross. Glad I don’t work in a hospital.

Her move...

Was by accident, and Rick showed the video again to make sure we saw. Even in thMaitenceese videos, which are like the professional cousins to the PSAs we watched as kids in school, the folks make mistakes that might spread diseases like Hepatitis C or the flu.

One of the ways this was directly demonstrated to us was with a delightful product named GloGerm, which was the color of roadside emergency cones. We smeared this on our hands and went to wash. The catch? It glows under a blacklight.
I’m not going to lie. I had to wash my hands twice, including under the fingernails, to get all the GloGerm off.

And why were we taking this class?

image: A depiction of GloGerm
caption: See the little white glowing spots? That’s simulated disease.
Hand washing saves lives.

Partly because we all handle jewelry from time to time, and of course cleanliness is top of the bill for us. But we also spend a lot of time together in the office, and disease spreads from person to person quickly in that kind of space.

I, myself, have been sick eleven times this winter. And I work on the blog.

“Quick question for you guys,” Rick said, at one point, “Where are your gloves located?”

The answers varied from, “I have a box at my desk,” to, “Down the hall, in the printing room.” But everyone knew where the nearest gloves were located because everyone uses them.

I was impressed, because as a blogger I’m not handling jewelry and therefore had no idea where the gloves were. But, rest assured, everyone else was really on top of it.

Then things got real.

We learned First Aid, with a capital FA. Should anyone have a heart attack in or near the building, everyone at Bodyartforms is now CPR certified.

Two things about CPR. One, you have to push really hard. It’ll wear you out, and also break the victim’s ribs. That’s if you’re doing it right. Two, it’s done to the rhythm of Staying Alive, that song by the Beegees. You’re welcome for getting that stuck in your head.

The dummies have a light that comes on when you’re doing it right, and another set of lights when you’re doing it wrong.

“In real life,” Rick said, “People won’t have those lights.”

Which is a shame, because they were very handy.

We learned how to put someone in the Recovery Position. We learned how to use an automated defibrillator. We learned the Heimlich Maneuver, now more properly called “Abdominal Thrusts”. 

One of the great perks...

Of working at a place like Bodyartforms, aside from getting a first look at all the sweet, sweet jewelry, is getting to be involved with all the cool extra-curricular activities we do. Sometimes we paint, sometimes we volunteer and sometimes we learn about terrible diseases that live on us no matter how much we wash our hands.

Man, GloGerm really had an effect on me.

And sometimes we learn life saving techniques that we can take with us into the world.