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Transmission-Based Precautions: Contact

Transmission-based precautions help prevent the spread of certain infections. Contact precautions are one type of transmission-based precaution. Always use contact precautions in addition to standard precautions.

Closeup of hands in sink with running water. Hands are covered with soap suds. When to Use Contact Precautions

Most germs are spread through touch. They are often spread by hands. They can also be spread by patient care equipment and other objects. Use contact precautions with patients known to have or suspected of having certain infections as outlined by your facility, including:

  • Scabies and other skin infections

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

  • Clostridium difficile infection

  • Varicella (chickenpox)

How to Use Contact Precautions

The infected patient should be given a private room and bathroom. If this can’t be done, check with your facility’s infection control department. Also:

  • Put gloves on before entering the room.

  • Change your gloves if they have touched body fluids or substances. Remove gloves and wash your hands before leaving the patient’s room.

  • Wear a gown when working directly with the patient or if your clothing will touch surfaces or other objects in the room.

  • Have family members and other visitors wear a gown and gloves as outlined by your facility.

  • Transport the patient only when necessary. Change the patient’s gown and linens before moving him or her. Alert the receiving department.

Preventing Contamination

  • Change gloves as soon as possible after they become contaminated. Change them before you go on to another task.

  • Avoid touching objects, surfaces, or the patient with contaminated gloves or other contaminated objects.

  • Avoid sharing patient care equipment. If an item must be shared, clean it with disinfectant between patients.

  • Help patients wash their hands as often as possible.

  • Clean all surfaces in the patient’s room and bathroom daily with approved disinfectant.

  • Remove gloves and other PPE carefully before leaving the room.



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