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Are Standard Infection Control Precautions Enough?

Learning Objectives:  

Upon hearing this podcast, the listener should:

  • Know the best practices to prevent the spread of disease in his/her office
  • Learn the different methods for preventing contact, airborne, and droplet-spread infections

A clinician must ask him or herself when additional infection control measures are necessary in treatment. Standard precautions are designed to protect patients and healthcare workers from not only blood-borne pathogens, but those spread by blood or all bodily fluids, excretions, or secretions--regardless of whether they contain blood, nonintact skin, or mucous membranes. Under ordinary circumstances, standard precautions have shown to keep patients and workers safe, but these precautions do not provide sufficient protection against infection. In these cases, transmission-based precautions must be taken.  These include contact precautions, droplet precautions, and airborne precautions.

Related Reading:  

  1. Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health Care Settings---2003, Centers for Disease Control MMWR Dec. 19, 2003 / 52(RR17);1-61.
  2. Standard Precautions, Guideline for Isolation Precautions in Hospitals, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/gl_isolation_Standard.html
  3. Contact Precautions, Guideline for Isolation Precautions in Hospitals, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/gl_isolation_contact.html
  4. Droplet Precautions, Guideline for Isolation Precautions in Hospitals, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/gl_isolation_droplet.html
  5. Respiratory Hygiene/Cough Etiquette  (www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/resphygiene.html)
  6. Airborne Precautions, Guideline for Isolation Precautions in Hospitals, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/gl_isolation_airborne.html
  7. Guidelines for Isolation Precautions in Hospitals, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/gl_isolation_table.htm.
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