Q&A

How can I work safely on a client with hepatitis B?

Q.

How can I work safely on a client with hepatitis B?

A.

One of my clients was just diagnosed with hepatitis B. I know it’s not contagious unless there’s contact with body fluids. What else do I need to know about protecting myself while doing her nails?

Doug Schoon: The chance of your client giving you hepatitis B during the service is so close to zero, we might as well call it zero. It isn’t going to happen. Salon services do not spread life-threatening diseases. Still, we live in an age of medical paranoia and clients expect us to take all reasonable precautions. With that in mind, you can see why I recommend that nail techs avoid contact with blood, no matter who the client. Any professional salon disinfection system is fine for disinfecting salon implements, but I suggest you throw away any abrasive that comes in contact with blood.

Dr. Phoebe Rich: Blood is the major source of contamination for hepatitis B. Protecting yourself by wearing gloves is prudent. It is even more important to protect your other clients by making sure all instruments are thoroughly disinfected. If you accidentally nick the skin of the client with hepatitis B, you run the risk of spreading the virus to others (if you don’t use a scrupulous technique). Hand-washing is important.

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