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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, March 17, 2000

Gloves aren’t
required for TB testers

Question: I went to the Lanakila Health Center in January to obtain a tuberculosis skin test, which is required by my employer. I was disturbed to find that the individual who performed the test did not wash her hands or use gloves. Aren't there federal regulations administered by the OSHA that require health professionals to use precautions (such as gloves) when administering injections, to help prevent transmission of blood-borne pathogens?

Answer: The policy is being reviewed, but currently, the use of gloves is not mandatory, said state Department of Health spokesman Patrick Johnston.

But the person administering the TB skin test should have washed her hands, he said.

The Health Department's Tuberculosis Program follows guidelines on "universal precautions" set by the federal Centers for Disease Control and the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association, he said.

NTCA guidelines state that gloves are not required for TB skin tests, although local policies may require their use, Johnston said. Meanwhile, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration "does not mandate the use of gloves for subcutaneous injections "if bleeding is not anticipated,'" he said.

Based on these guidelines, the state tuberculosis program does not require the use of gloves, although it "encourages" their use and makes them available to nurses, Johnston said.

Nurses are required to wash their hands before placing each skin test and the Health Department makes hand-washing toiletries available to all nursing staff, he said. If a nurse did not do so, "this was an oversight on the part of the nurse and does not reflect TB Program policy," Johnston said.

Although there have been no problems with the present policy, he said the department is reviewing the no-gloves policy "in light of a recent national conference stressing the need to control infectious diseases in clinic settings."

Q: I live across Jarrett Middle School. We're subjected to noise every Friday and just about all day Sunday by a church group. I called the vice principal and police and complained. I asked them to turn off the microphones, but the noise continues. Can you help?

A: The noise should be gone beginning tonight.

Jarrett Vice Principal Yoshiji Asami said he took immediate action after receiving your complaint and a subsequent complaint. He said he tried to get back to you to let you know what was happening, but was unable to reach you.

There were two pastors, albeit from the same church group, who led the Friday and Sunday services. Asami said he asked one pastor to relay the message that microphones should not be used because of the noise. He also said the Friday group was told to vacate the premises by 10 p.m., the deadline set for all groups using the school facilities.

Asami thought everything was OK. But based on subsequent complaints, Asami said he told church officials that they would not be able to use the school facilities for the rest of the school year. They may reapply after that.

If you have any questions, call Asami at 733-4888. Leave your name and daytime number so he can get back to you.


To the two gentlemen who called the police and ambulance and stayed with me in the rain on the H-3 Freeway, north-bound, just before the tunnel on Feb. 27. They comforted me and used their car for hazard protection. -- Herb

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fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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