Top Toolbar



Maintaining good hygiene is the first step to living a healthy life. Neglecting your hygiene, or allowing your child to be careless about cleanliness, can harm everyone's health.

Building good hygiene habits into a daily routine is essential for people with a bleeding disorder and their caregivers. The process of infusing clotting factor puts everyone involved at an increased risk of infection. Special — yet simple — steps will help protect you, your child, and others in your household from some preventable infections and diseases.

One important way to reduce the risk of infection is good hand hygiene. This section of Steps for Living reviews the basics of hand hygiene. This is important for everyone, particularly for those participating in home therapy.

Handling medications and equipment with care and making sure that they are properly stored is also very important to avoid contamination. Not doing so may also lead to an infection in you or your child.

Hand Washing 101

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of infection and illness. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another in all settings—from your home and workplace to child care facilities and hospitals.

Washing hands with soap and warm water is the best way to reduce the number of germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning a child who has used the toilet
  • Before and after touching someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After touching garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Hand washing is easy and takes only a few minutes.
  • Wet your hands with clean running water (warm) and apply soap
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice
  • Rinse your hands well under running water
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry

How should you use hand sanitizer?

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand
  • Rub your hands together
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry
Hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty and cannot effectively clean the hands when they are exposed to fecal matter, blood, and other bodily fluids.

Home Therapy: Hand Washing and Sterile Technique

The first step in all home therapy is to make sure your hands are clean. Before beginning infusion wash your hands with soap and water. That's the easiest way to help prevent germs from spreading from your hands to anything you touch.

After you wash your hands, they are clean, not sterile. Sterile is different than clean—sterile means all germs are gone.

All items used during an infusion must be sterile. Don't worry—these supplies are packaged in germ-free containers. But once opened, you must take care to keep them from becoming contaminated. As soon as you touch a sterile item with anything that's not sterile, it becomes contaminated. For example, if a needle that will be used for an infusion touches the tabletop, it becomes contaminated and must be thrown away. This applies to all supplies (such as transfer, butterfly, or straight needles used for infusions)—they should never touch anything non-sterile.

Infection Control Issues in the Home

All the information below will help you to maintain a clean and healthy environment. You may also want to talk to your Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) nurse or pharmacist about the specifics of your home environment.

Keep your hands and infusion area clean

  • Clean the infusion area with an antiseptic solution
  • Wash your hands before and after the infusion
  • Wear gloves when mixing clotting factor and infusing
  • Clean any blood or body fluid spills with an antiseptic or bleach solution
  • Wear gloves when cleaning up all blood spills
  • Dispose of bloody gauze in the sharps container
  • Wash all contaminated linen

Get rid of your waste properly

  • Use a puncture- and tamper-resistant sharps container; follow the directions on the container
  • Seal the sharps container when it is ¾ full; make sure a new container is available
  • Dispose of the full container according to state law. This may include disposing of it by sterilization at an approved site. Most homecare companies will pick up a filled container and replace it with a new one.
  • When traveling, always take your sharps container

Get immunized against hepatitis A and B

  • Make sure that you, your child, and other household members who perform the infusion or have contact with blood products and bloody waste, receive vaccines for these infections
  • Arrange immunizations though your Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) or private physician's office

Get tested for hepatitis A, B, and C and HIV

  • Get tested, especially if your child has any of these viruses. Testing is also important for any other household members who will have contact with your child's blood or body fluids or will infuse him or her
  • Arrange to be tested through your HTC or private physician

Plan for emergencies

  • Talk with your HTC team about what steps to take in case you or a household member is exposed to the blood or body fluids of a person with hemophilia who is infected with hepatitis A, B, or C, or HIV
  • Report any exposure to your HTC or physician immediately; some states also require reporting the exposure to the health department
  • If you have been exposed to any of these viruses, talk to your health care provider about possible treatments
  • Talk to your health care provider periodically for updates on new vaccines, procedures, and treatments