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Body fluid, bodily fluids, or biofluids are liquids originating from inside the bodies of living people. They include fluids that are excreted or secreted from the body as well as body water that normally is not.
The dominating content of body fluids is body water. Approximately 60-65% of body water is contained within the cells (in intracellular fluid) with the other 35-40% of body water contained outside the cells (in extracellular fluid). This fluid component outside of the cells includes the fluid between the cells (interstitial fluid), lymph and blood. There are approximately 6 to 10 liters of lymph in the body, compared to 3.5 to 5 liters of blood.
Body fluid is the term most often used in medical and health contexts. Modern medical, public health, and personal hygiene practices treat body fluids as potentially unclean. This is because they can be vectors for infectious diseases, such as sexually transmitted diseases or blood-borne diseases. Universal precautions and safer sex practices try to avoid exchanges of body fluids. Body fluids can be analyzed in medical laboratory in order to find microbes, inflammation, cancers, etc.
Clinical samples are generally defined as non-infectious human or animal materials including, but not limited to, blood, saliva, excreta, body tissue and tissue fluids, and also FDA-approved pharmaceuticals that are blood products. In medical contexts, it is a specimen taken for diagnostic examination or evaluation, and for identification of disease or condition.
Methods of sampling of body fluids include:
In many cultures, bodily fluids are viewed with disgust. However, blood plays an important symbolic role in Catholicism: the saved in paradise are said to be "have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb" Revelation 7:14. In the eucharistic meal, the faithful eat and drink consecrated bread and wine. The dogma of transubstantiation states that the bread and the wine become the flesh and blood of Christ. There are many churches dedicated to the Holy Blood of Christ and there blood relics of saints such as San Gennaro.
A relatively new trend in contemporary art is to use body fluids in art, though there have been rarer uses of blood (and perhaps feces) for quite some time, and Marcel Duchamp used semen decades ago. Examples include: