Hazardous Drugs and Their Contamination Can Create Havoc
There are various ways by which the health care workers can be exposed to hazardous drugs. The nurses, physicians and health workers may be exposed if their skin comes into direct contact with such drug and gets absorbed into the skin. Some other means of exposure and contamination are inhalation of vapors, aerosols, ingestion and accidental needle stick injury. The nurses may be exposed to splash contamination while administering medicines and handling patient waste. The use of gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment can act as a shield against such exposure.
Hazardous drugs may be spilled while being transferred from one container to another or while preparing and administering them. The leakage and spills result in contamination of work surfaces like table tops, floors, chairs, counter tops, and Biological Safety Cabinets. The knowledge and awareness of the ill-effects from hazardous drugs and the ways in which these substances can enter the body can create a sense of adherence to safety standards in the health care workers.
To prevent the contamination from hazardous drugs, several machines and equipments have been designed and one among these is the closed system drug transfer device. Personal protective equipment is also useful in reducing the risk of exposure. However, nurses and physicians do not give much importance to self-safety as much as to patient safety. Training, education and compliance policies should be strictly implemented to reduce health hazards from toxic medications.
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