Standard Precautions and Categories

Standard Precautions


An approach of infection control in which all human blood/body fluids or animals infected with infectious agents are treated as if known to be infectious from HIV, HBV, HCV and other bloodborne pathogens


Standard precautions are to be followed if there is a likelihood of coming in contact with:


  • blood

  • body fluids

  • secretions

  • excretions (except sweat)

  • broken skin

  • mucous membranes


When to Washing Hands:


  • between patients

  • after contact with blood, bodily fluids, excretions, secretions

  • contact with equipment or articles contaminated with them

  • immediately after gloves are removed


When to Wear gloves:


  • contact with blood

  • bodily fluids

  • secretions

  • excretions

  • broken skin

  • mucous membranes

  • contaminated items


When to wear masks, eye protection or face shields:


  • if care interaction may generate splash or spray of blood or other body fluids


When to gown


  • if clothing is likely to become soiled from blood or body fluids


  1. Client care equipment is sterilized, disposable single use items are discarded

  2. Contaminated linen placed in leak proof bag for laundry

  3. sharps disposed of in sharps container

  4. Single occupancy client room not necessary unless client hygiene unacceptable



Three Isolation Precautions Categories



  1. Air borne precautions


For known or suspected infections caused by microbes transmitted by airborne droplets

  • measles

  • chickenpox (varicella virus)

  • disseminated zoster

  • TB




  • private room – room door kept closed

  • negative pressure airflow of at least 6 exchanges per hour

  • respiratory protection device (N95 respirator worn for TB, varicella, disseminated zoster or measles and worker is not immune)

 2. Droplet precautions


For known or suspected infections caused by microbes transmitted by droplets produced by coughing, sneezing or talking


  • diphtheria (pharyngeal)

  • rubella

  • influenza

  • pertussis

  • mumps

  • mycoplasma pneumonia

  • meningococcal pneumonia

  • sepsis




  • private room or cohort clients (room door closed unless bed is more than 1m from the door)

  • mask is worn when within 1 m of the client

 3. Contact Precautions


For known or suspected infections caused by direct or indirect contact


  • colonization or infection with multidrug resistant organisms

  • C. difficile

  • major wound infections

  • gastrointestinal respiratory or skin infections

Perry, A, G, Potter, P, A, Ross-Kerr, J, C and Wood, M, J. 2006. Canadian fundamentals of nursing. 3rded. Toronto: Elselvier


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