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Transmission-based precautions are for patients infected or suspected to be infected (or colonized) with organisms posing a significant risk to others. The transmission precautions include airborne and protective environment precautions.

Airborne precautions:

Use airborne precautions when treating patients known or suspected to have diseases that spread through the air—for example, tuberculosis or measles. These organisms are present in smaller droplets expelled by an infected person and remain suspended in the air. The measures to prevent airborne infection include the following.

  • Put a face mask on the patient.
  • If possible, prompt patient isolation in a single room with negative ventilation or a positive pressure lobby.
  • Keep the door closed.
  • Avoid the movement of the patient outside the room
  • Use gloves and an apron for any procedure involving contact.
  • Staff entering the room should wear a fitted respirator.
  • Immunize the people who have had unprotected contact with the infected patient as early as possible.

Protective Environment Precautions:

Protective environment precautions are used for patients who undergo transplants and gene therapy and are highly vulnerable to infection. These patients are kept in a specialized room with positive airflow, set at greater than twelve air exchanges per hour, and room air is filtered through a HEPA filter. The patients must wear a mask when out of their rooms. Staff with fever or respiratory symptoms are not allowed in this room. If possible, designate equipment only for the individual who is taking protective measures. Before using, clean the equipment with a disinfectant. When using non-dedicated equipment with someone on precautions, clean and disinfect it with a disinfectant recommended by the facility. Whenever possible, use disposable items for patients under protective environment precautions.

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