Droplet vs Airborne Precautions (Standard & Isolation) Practice Questions with Answers and NCLEX® Review

Droplet and Airborne Precautions are used to prevent the spread of infectious agents. These precautions are a part of standard and Isolation precautions – both of which focus on preventing the spread of disease by preventing contact with infectious agents (including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites). Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) will need to be used for each type of isolation.

Droplet vs Airborne Precautions (Standard & Isolation) Practice Questions with Answers and Practice Questions

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Table of contents

    Introduction to Droplet vs Airborne Precautions

    Transmission-based precautions are used in addition to standard precautions when a client is infected with a respiratory illness. There are two types of respiratory isolation precaution; droplet and airborne.

    Droplet precautions are the first line of defense against the spread of respiratory viruses (like the COVID-19 virus, and influenza). This precaution is utilized when a client has symptoms of upper respiratory illness and could transmit the disease to others by coughing or sneezing. 

    Airborne precautions are essential for preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, and additional safety measures are required.

    Standard precautions apply to all clients regardless of whether they are infected with an infectious disease. Isolation precautions apply to clients diagnosed with a specific infectious disease. Specific PPE and appropriate isolation precautions will help prevent transmission from one client (or health care worker) to another.

    Airborne vs. Droplet Precautions

    Droplets and airborne precautions are two different types of precautionary methods to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. 

    The main difference between airborne and droplet precautions is that airborne precautions protect against particles that travel through the air, while droplet precautions protect against particles that travel through the air and drop onto surfaces.

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    DropletAirborne
    • Pertussis
    • Influenza
    • Meningitis
    • Pneumonia
    • Measles
    • TB (Tuberculosis)
    • Varicella (shingles/chicken pox)
    1. Surgical mask & goggles
    2. Single room
    1. N95 mask – Staff
    2. Neg. pressure room
    3. Door closed
    4. Transport – client wears surgical mask
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    Standard vs. Isolation Precautions

    Standard precautions are a set of actions designed to prevent disease transmission.CDC Initiated general guidelines for preventing transmission of infectious agents from client to client or from client to health care worker. 

    These include (when necessary): 

    • Washing hands frequently (ALWAYS)
    • Wearing gloves 
    • Covering cuts and sores with bandages and masks
    • Wearing gowns 
    • Using disposable supplies
    • Wearing a mask 

    Isolation precautions are a set of specific actions designed to prevent exposure to bloodborne pathogens or other infectious agents that may cause infection among hospitalized clients or in ambulatory care settings. 

    This includes:

    • Limiting or restricting visitors of clients identified as having an infectious disease.
    • Limiting staff interactions with clients. 
    • Strict hand hygiene
    • Preventing contact between staff members’ hands and their own eyes, mouth, or nose.
    • Avoiding client’s mucous membranes
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    Droplet vs Airborne Precautions Conclusion

    Standard precautions are used on every client regardless of diagnosis. Additional precautions may be needed for clients who have been identified as having a specific infectious disease. Droplet and airborne are two of the specific isolation precautions used in the care of clients with respiratory illnesses.

    As a nurse, you must be aware of the different types of protective isolation and when to utilize the appropriate measures to protect clients as well as health care workers.

    Sources

    https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/basics/transmission-based-precautions.html 

    https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/basics/standard-precautions.html 

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