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Difference Between Airborne and Droplet Precautions

Airborne vs Droplet Precautions

Airborne precautions are defined as that prevention method in the spread of infectious agents when it is being suspended in the air.  The droplet precautions are the measures taken in stopping the spread of some infectious diseases with droplets.  These two measures are serving the same reasons, which are to prevent the spread of diseases that can be potentially dangerous to the health of the community.  Airborne infections are those that are transmitted with flying pathogens that are in the wind.  Droplets, on the other hand, are the causes of the spread of disease in the droplet precautions.  When it comes to transmission of the disease, the main difference is that the droplet is infected through the nose, mouth, mucous membranes and conjunctivae of a person who is weak.  The airborne precautions are taken to prevent the entry of the disease or agents through the respiratory system.

When it comes to isolation processes, the airborne precautions would include this room that is equipped with special air handling and ventilation devices.  Inside the room are machines who will be able to monitor the pressure related to the surrounding area and the air exchanges that occur.  The droplet precautions are preferred to be isolated in a place that is a single room patient.  This is to prevent the association of the contacted person from infecting and spreading the disease to others by touching.  Simply, it is a room that will prevent the person from cohorting with others.  When patients with the same disease or infection are placed inside the holding area for droplet precautions, they should be bedded at least three feet away from each other.

The differences when it comes to requirements of precautions are also quite distinct between the two.  For one thing, the airborne precautions do not require gloves to prevent the spread of the disease while the droplets required the standard types of gloves to fully prevent its infection.  Gowns and aprons are also needed for the droplet precautions while the airborne measures do not require the use of such clothing mechanisms.  The reasons behind these are because the airborne diseases cannot  be transmitted by hand and do not need the protective clothing to prevent it.  Infectious agents who are airborne can cling or contaminate clothing.  For precautionary measures, if it is noted to infect the clothing, you need to wash it using protective gloves and aprons.  Unlike the droplet diseases, unless the material has been touched and came into contact with the droplets themselves, it cannot be contaminated.


1. Airborne precautions are for the protection against airborne particles while the droplet precautions are for the prevention of spread with droplets.
2. Airborne precautions focus on the prevention of entry through the respiratory system while the droplets focus on the spread through mouth, nose and conjunctive areas.
3. Airborne precautions do not require protective clothing and gloves while the droplet precautions require it.
4. Airborne precautions require the isolation of the victim in a specially designed sealed room while the droplets precaution only require the patient to be located in a single occupant room.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the article. To improve the article, it would be appreciated to clarify and explicitly state which of these require face masks. I would assume airborne does but I also can consider the plausibility of equipping a face mask with droplet precautions. Thank you again.

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