Some people fail to understand the importance of adequate sleep for optimal health. With increasing workloads and the late-night lifestyle of night workers, the need for good sleep is often overlooked. This is a particularly pertinent problem during the current pandemic since many individuals started working from home.
Sleep research has advanced tremendously over the last several decades, showing the critical role of sleep in almost every system in the body. As studies into the relationship between sleep and physical health have progressed, it has become more apparent that sleep and the immune system are closely linked.
This article can make you aware of how sleep is important to keep the immune system strong and know how sleep deprivation can make you prone to illnesses from bloodborne pathogens.
What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?
A pathogen is anything that causes illness. A pathogen that may persist in human blood for weeks or months is a bloodborne pathogen. Human blood contains infectious germs known as bloodborne pathogens, which may cause illness in humans. Hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are all pathogens.
Knowing which methods of exposure and transmission are most likely to occur in your specific circumstance is essential. The two most frequent ways of becoming infected with HBV and HIV are:
- Puncture with infected needles, shattered glass, or other sharp objects
- Contact with infectious bodily fluids, especially on torn or damaged skin
- Interaction between the membranes of the respiratory system and the infectious bodily fluids
Who Are at Risk for Bloodborne Pathogens?
Nurses, healthcare workers, first responders, and cleaning staff may all be vulnerable to bloodborne infections. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in the event of an occupational contact to bloodborne viruses, about 5.6 million employees in the health care sector and associated professions are put at risk. Any type of worker is susceptible to infection from bloodborne pathogens whenever they are exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials.
An employer must develop an exposure management strategy for the workplace, including information on employee protective measures, to minimize or eliminate the risks of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
Having you and your employees go through a job training course for Bloodborne Pathogens Certification is ideal for those working in these sectors, such as nurses, doctors, dentists, lab workers, and even tattoo artists, among others. The course is beneficial for people who are prone to this kind of disease in order to define and identify methods of BBP transmission and prevention.
How Can Sleep Deprivation Weaken the Immune System?
Sleep has been shown to have a significant impact on the immune system. People are more susceptible to illness when they are sleep-deprived. This illustrates that inadequate sleep reduces the immune system's efficacy, while restful sleep boosts immunity.
Having enough restful sleep enables T helper cells to be more productive. T helper cells assist the body in defending against infection by viruses, bacteria, or other foreign antigen cells. Whenever a foreign pathogen is introduced into the body, the immune cells produce a protein called integrin, which aids in recognizing and fighting against that infection. Integrin assists T cells in binding to the foreign antigens and eventually destroys the pathogen.
The results of research conducted in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, revealed that T cells activate integrins and can identify variables that diminish the effectiveness of T cells in adhering to the target pathogen.
To understand how sleep deprivation promotes vulnerability to viral, bacterial, and parasite diseases, researchers must identify the role of sleep in the immune system. Thus, sleep deprivation and a weak immune system linked people in getting prone to bloodborne pathogens.
Occupational Exposures to Bloodborne Pathogens Among Health Care Workers
While sleep deprivation clearly increases the risk of workplace accidents, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of this connection. Inadequate restfulness in workers increases the likelihood of workplace accidents by 70%. Also contributing to a greater risk of occupational injury include long work hours, lack of sleep, and an unhealthy diet. Additionally, those who suffer from insomnia are about two times more likely to be involved in a work-related accident than their counterparts who don't have sleep problems.
Health care workers (HCWs) who have sleep deprivation are more exposed to a range of occupational hazards on the job. One of the most severe concerns, including for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers, is exposure to blood and bodily fluids while performing their duties, which raises concerns about the transmission of bloodborne pathogens.
Every day, surgeons face the danger of harm in the operating room. Despite the prevalence of workplace safety measures, accidents continue to be common and costly. While occupational hazards may include musculoskeletal disorders, psychological stress, radiation exposure, and the risk of infectious illnesses, sharps injuries continue to be the most prevalent among surgeons in practice and the most common mode of transmission of bloodborne pathogens. Thus, greater awareness of the physical, economic, emotional, and social consequences of these injuries is critical for effective treatment and prevention in the future.
To mitigate the unpleasant consequences of hazardous exposure to contaminated blood and body fluids, medical personnel must adhere to all standard precautions guidelines and participate in ongoing education about bloodborne pathogen protection. The degree to which standard precautions are knowledgeable, consistent, and practiced need to be evaluated regularly, and the characteristics of rural and urban EMS providers that indicated a lack of compliance with standard procedures must be changed.
Standard Precautions to Prevent Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens
Bloodborne pathogens, including hepatitis B, C, and HIV, are more likely to be transmitted in healthcare settings. Although postexposure hepatitis for HBV and occupational safety precautions are vital in preventing infection after bloodborne virus exposure, HBV vaccination and postexposure treatment are critical parts of a comprehensive approach to avoid infection.
The transmission of microbes in healthcare controls that can be controlled through infrastructure, safe injection practices, and safe work practices is referred to as healthcare-associated transmission. Controls for removing or isolating hazards are equipment, devices, or instruments. When administering injections, safety precautions must be taken to make injections safer for patients, healthcare professionals, and other individuals who minimize the risk of exposure.
To minimize occupational transmission of healthcare workers, some measures are used. These are referred to as 'standard precautions.' The concept claims that no existing infections, previously unknown, could be detected.
Standard precautions apply to nonintact skin and mucous membranes, blood, and all bodily fluids, excretions, and secretions, except sweat, regardless of whether they contain visible pathogens. Additional measures are necessary when diseases are highly transmissible or epidemiologically significant. Transmission-based measures (isolation) include precautions against airborne, droplet, and contact transmissions.
Most importantly, it's time to reiterate the importance of sleep.
Enough Sleep for a Strong Immune System
Immune system cytokines are released during sleep and during times of stress to battle infection or inflammation. If the body doesn't get enough sleep, the number of protective cytokines and infection-fighting antibodies may decrease.
Sickness may leave individuals in a state of sleep that results in sleep deprivation. During these times, people may have a greater desire to take a nap or go to sleep. To combat viruses and other infections, the body must drastically boost the immune system's activity. As a result, there is often less energy available for different tasks. Sleeping more is critical for mending the body and preserving energy for illness fights.
To promote mental well-being and ensure the immune system stays healthy, it's essential to get enough sleep. Here are some recommendations from experts:
- Taking a quick nap throughout the day to help reduce tiredness, but not frequent napping to make up for a good night's sleep.
- Maintaining a pleasant, quiet, dark, and cool sleeping environment.
- Decreasing intake of sugar-sweetened candy, dessert, and beverages, which may impact a person's sleep.
- Getting enough rest at night and waking up at a consistent time. Establish a time for sleep that's safeguarded, such as an anchor period (i.e., same 4-6 hours regardless of schedule).
- Cutting down on your nighttime consumption of alcoholic beverages, energy drinks, and foods that contain caffeine, such as dark chocolate, then avoid consuming any of these things before bed.
In general, people who already have compromised immune systems or suffer from chronic sleep disorders may be particularly harmed by sleep deprivation. Getting enough undisturbed sleep every night may improve your immune system's efficacy, so make it a priority. Optimizing your sleep frequently begins with paying attention to your habits, routines, and sleeping conditions.
Start with a comprehensive focus on health-oriented behaviors—like eating properly, exercising, and getting enough rest—to help build a more robust immune system and more regular and good sleep patterns.
As for health care workers exposed to occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens prevent or reduce exposure to potentially infectious materials, it's essential to follow proper work practice controls and standard precautions. To minimize the danger of exposure to bloodborne infections, complying with environmentally designed controls is highly recommended.
Most importantly, those who have ongoing sleep difficulties or diseases should see a doctor. A physician may work to determine the underlying reason and the most effective treatment options.