Vocabulary List

Vocabulary List
ANTIBIOTIC – Medications capable of inhibiting the growth of or destroying
ANTISEPTIC – Chemical agents that prevent or inhibit growth of microorganisms.
ASEPSIS – Methods used to make the patient, worker, and the environment as
pathogen-free as possible.
AVIAN FLU - a flu caused by influenza viruses found in birds and may be transmitted
from birds to humans. It may be deadly to humans.
BACTERIA – A one-celled plants that can either be pathogenic or nonpathogenic.
BIOHAZARD – Any living organism or material from a living organism that is harmful or
potentially harmful if it comes into contact with a person.
BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS STANDARD – Federal regulations established in 1992
by the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA). Their purpose is to
reduce the risk to employees of being exposed to infectious diseases through blood and
other body fluids.
BODY MECHANICS – the way in which the body moves and maintains balance while
making the most efficient use of all its parts.
U.S. Public Health Service that tracks the incidence and spread of disease in this
country and worldwide. Based upon the data, the CDC then makes recommendations
(like Standard Precautions) to prevent the spread of disease.
CHAIN OF INFECTION – Six elements that must be present for an infection to develop
1. Infectious Agent – a pathogen.
2. Reservoir Host – a place where the pathogen can live and grow/survive.
3. Portal of Exit – a means for the pathogen to leave the host. Ex: infected
4. Route of Transmission – the means by which the pathogens leaves the host,
direct or indirect. Ex: are, food, insects, hands.
5. Portal of Entry – the way by which the pathogen enters a new host. Ex:
broken skin.
6. Susceptible host – the person who has a large number of pathogens invading
the body and is at risk to develop disease.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE – A disease that can be transmitted either directly or
indirectly from one individual to another.
CONTAMINATED – Presence of infectious material.
DISINFECTANT – Agents or methods that destroy most bacteria and viruses on
inanimate objects.
DRUG RESISTANT INFECTIONS – Pathogens or germs that have become resistant to
medications developed to fight then in infected people.
ENGINEERING CONTROLS – Any physical or mechanical devices that remove or
reduce health hazards from one’s workplace. Example: self-capping needles,
handwashing facilities.
ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY – The identification and correction of potential hazards
that can cause accidents and injuries.
ERGONOMICS – The science of designing and arranging things in the working and
living environments for maximum efficiency and maximum health and safety.
EXPOSURE CONTROL PLAN – A plan written by each office or facility which is
designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to blood-borne pathogens or
other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). The elements of the plan must include 1)
exposure determination, 2) compliance methods, and 3) post-exposure evaluation and
follow-up procedures. This plan must be made available for review by all staff and
annually updated.
FLAMMABLE – Easily set on fire, same as inflammable
FOOD BORNE ILLNESS - also referred to as "food poisoning". It is an illness that
occurs after the consumption of contaminated food.
FUNGUS – Large groups of simple plants. Two forms of fungi are potential pathogens:
yeast and mold.
GERM THEORY – A theory that states that specific microorganisms, called bacteria,
are the cause of specific diseases in both humans and animals.
HAZARD – Any substance or material that can cause injury or damage.
HEPATITIS B VIRUS (HBV) – the major infectious bloodborne pathogen for healthcare
INCIDENT REPORT – A written document that is filled out when any unexpected
situation occurs that can cause harm to a patient, employee, or any other person.
INFECTION CONTROL – To prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE – Any disease caused by the growth of pathogens.
IMMUNE RESPONSE – A specific defense used by the body to fight infection and
disease by producing antibodies.
ISOLATION – Separation of a patient from other individuals to either protect the patient
from being exposed to environmental irritants or pathogens or to prevent the spread of
infection from the patient to others.
Airborne – the germ is in the air and inhaled by the host
Contact – person to person touch by contaminated hands or indirectly by
contaminated items.
Droplet – no direct contact but occurs within 3 feet of a person and is spread by
sneeze, cough, talking.
ORGANIZATIONS (JCAHO) – An agency that provides voluntary accreditation of a
variety of healthcare organizations (hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes,
MEDICAL ASEPSIS – Procedures to decrease the number and spread of pathogens in
the environment.
MICROORGANISMS – a very small, usually one-celled living plant or animal.
MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus): a bacterium responsible for
infections in humans; sometimes referred to as a "staph infection"
NOSOCOMIAL INFECTION - originated in a hospital and usually appears 48 hours or
more after admission but may appear within 30 days after discharge.
OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE – Actual contact or anticipated contact with blood or
body fluids or any OPIMs that occur during the performance of an employee’s duties.
agency established in 1970. Its function is to establish minimum health and safety
standards for the workplace and to enforce those standards.
P.A.S.S. – Proper sequence of operation of a fire extinguisher
P – Pull the pin
A – Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
S – Squeeze the handle
S – Sweep back and forth at the base of the fire
PATHOGEN – Disease producing microorganism (germ).
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) – Any of a number of materials or
devices that are used to protect an individual from harm/hazard. Ex: gloves, mask, lab
coats, etc.
R.A.C.E. – Procedure to follow when a fire occurs
R – Remove the patient
A – Activate the alarm
C – Contain the fire
E – Extinguish the fire or Evacuate the area
SAFETY DATA SHEET (SDS) – A document providing information about a hazardous
chemical that must be made available to employees who use and come into contact
with that chemical. The MSDS provides information about the chemical, its hazards,
and measures to take to avoid injury and illness when handling the chemical. This
document is mandated by OSHA, and must be published by the manufacturer of the
hazardous chemical.
STANDARD PRECAUTIONS – Practices used to reduce the risk of transmission of
microorganisms from both recognized and unrecognized sources of infection in health
care settings. These practices are recommendations of CDC and are incorporated into
OSHA’s Blood-borne Pathogen Standards.
STERILE FIELD – An area that has been designed as free of microorganisms.
STERILIZATION – Agents or methods that totally destroy all microorganisms, including
viruses and spores.
SURGICAL ASEPSIS – Procedures to completely eliminate the presence of pathogens
from objects and areas.
TRANSMISSION-BASED PRECAUTIONS (TBP) – Recommendations that include
three types of isolation procedures (airborne, droplet, and contact precautions) required
for specific infections.
VIRUS – Smallest microorganism which needs a host to supply food and an
environment in which to multiply. There are no specific medications to treat viruses.
Viruses can multiply rapidly and are easily transmitted by blood and body secretions.
VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus): a form of intestinal bacteria which is not
sensitive to the antibiotic Vancomycin