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It is estimated that in the U.S, a single person might generate as much as 13 pounds of medical waste per year. This waste might contain a common symptom of many illnesses: vomit. While you may work in a medical facility and have been trained to handle it, it does still come with an icky factor and the 2014 transmission of Ebola to two nurses in the U.S. has served to emphasize that precautions are always necessary when handling fluids such as vomit. As a result, vomit can be considered a hazardous medical waste and should be handled under the universal precautions to prevent possible transmission of diseases.
Regardless of who ends up cleaning the vomit - clinician or hygiene worker - here's a brief reminder of the way to clean up and dispose of vomit in your area while following safety procedures.
While it may not be necessary to get into full body protective gear to clean up vomit, the right pair of gloves can make all the difference. One of the best gloves to wear in this instance may be regular household dish washing gloves. They may be thick and cumbersome, but they are also less likely to tear and less likely for fluids to seep through than with surgical or other latex gloves.
Another bit of protective tool that you might need is a chux, which is a single use bed pad. Using this along with chlorine bleach can be used to clean up any solid bits of vomit. Using chux may be better for this purpose as opposed to paper towels, as you would need more paper towels to complete the same task, making your medical waste disposal into a bigger package.
A chlorine solution is considered to be a helpful agent for killing microorganisms and can be used to neutralize vomit that has not been caused by a toxin or poison. Spraying the vomit with the solution and letting it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes should be sufficient to result in decontamination. However, even if you are unable to leave the vomit there for such a long time, as may be the case in many health facilities, adding chlorine can continue the decontamination while the vomit is bagged.
It is important, however, that in spraying the vomit, you take some precaution in keeping the spray contained so that it does not get onto previously unaffected areas. All of these, vomit, paper towels and chux, should be placed in a plastic bag for disposal.Share