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Droplet Precautions

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Why are droplet precautions needed?

Droplet precautions prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory viruses such as influenza (flu), pertussis, and pneumonia. The germs are spread when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Other people can become infected by breathing in the germs or getting the germs in their eyes.

What do I need to know about droplet precautions?

In a hospital setting, healthcare providers will put a sign outside your room to instruct visitors on precautions to take.

  • Each person will put on a mask as he or she comes into your room and wash his or her hands before leaving.
  • You will need to put on a mask if you have to leave your room. Do not to get too close to others. Germs can spread up to 3 feet away from you.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, and before you eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
    Handwashing

What do I need to know about droplet precautions at home?

When you are able to go home, you must continue to take your medicines as directed. You may be directed to use the precautions you used in the hospital, in addition to the following:

  • Stay inside your home. Do not leave until your healthcare provider gives you other instructions.
  • Continue to wash your hands often. Remind others around you to wash their hands often.
  • Continue to cover a sneeze or cough. Always throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Remember to use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Then always wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Clean surfaces often. You or someone who cares for you should clean doorknobs, countertops, cell phones, and other surfaces that are touched often. Use a disinfecting wipe, a single-use sponge, or a cloth you can wash and reuse. Use disinfecting cleaners if you do not have wipes. You can create a disinfecting cleaner by mixing 1 part bleach with 10 parts water.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.