Difference between airborne and droplet precautions
airborne vs droplet precautions :
While diseases are many, there are many ways and methods of preventing and treating them as well. Diseases particularly, infectious diseases can be rather dangerous as the imminent danger of contaminating other healthy people is always present, thus making matters worse. Therefore, as a manner in which this can be prevented airborne and droplet precaution were introduced.
What is airborne precaution?
Airborne precautions would be best defined as the prevention method where the spread of infectious agents which are suspended in the air are prevented from spreading any further. These are a set of guidelines which have been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Airborne droplet nuclei consist of small-particle residue which are prone to be suspended on air for a very long time and this can be carried through air currents, affecting a large number of healthy people in the process. Airborne precaution requires special air handling and ventilation which prevents the air from spreading the disease further. Examples of airborne diseases could be listed down as measles (rubeola), varicella zoster virus infections, Legionella infection, disseminated zoster, and tuberculosis.
What is droplet precaution?
Droplet precaution can be best defined as the guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the prevention of diseases whichg are transmitted by way of droplets. This involves of large particle droplets which contain infected microorganisms from an infected person produced during during coughing, sneezing, talking, etc, coming in to contact of the conjunctivae or the mucous membranes of the nose or mouth of another healthy person. As droplets are rather heavy and does not travel through air, it does not involve special ventilating procedure to prevent these diseases from spreading.
What is the difference between droplet precaution and airborne precautions?
While both are precautions that are taken in order to prevent the spreading of diseases, these two procedures involve the spreading of different types of diseases- diseases spread by airborne microorganism and diseases spread through droplets. While airborne diseases can be contracted through the respiratory system, diseases that are transmitted through droplets can only be transmitted through contact with the conjunctivae or the mucous membranes of the nose or mouth of another healthy person.
While in airborne diseases, the tiny droplet nuclei is suspended in air for a very long time and therefore can be easily spread at a very fast pace by way of wind, airborne precaution requires special air handling and ventilation which prevents the air from spreading the disease further. And yet, because of the fact that the droplets emitted in diseases transmitted by droplets are too heavy to be suspended in air for a long time, special air and ventilation procedure is not required as it is not carried out by the wind.
Regarding the isolation procedure, during airborne precautions, the room will be equipped with machinery which monitor the pressure related to the surrounding area and the air exchanges that occur. Yet during droplet precautions, one patient is limited to one room as it is advisable that any healthy person should prevent making any sort of physical contact with the person as the droplets are only known to be able to travel up to three feet from the patient.
Also, airborne precautions do not require the medical officers to be wearing gloves, gowns and other specific attire when treating the patients. And yet during droplet precautions, the medical officers are advised to wear such specific attire to avoid directly contacting the person. This is due to the fact that the droplets cannot affect a healthy person unless they have contacted the conjunctivae or the mucous membranes of the nose or mouth of another healthy person.