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Isolation precautions for adult patients: Droplet isolation precautions

Isolation Precautions for Adult Patients

Droplet isolation precautions

What are droplet precautions?

Droplet precautions are steps that healthcare facility visitors and staff need to follow before going into or leaving a patient’s room. They help stop germs from spreading so other people don’t get sick. Droplet precautions are for patients who have germs that can spread when they cough or sneeze.

How do I know if a patient is on droplet precautions?

There will be a sign at the door. It tells visitors and staff what they need to do before going into the patient’s room and when they leave the room. Droplet precautions may not be the same in every healthcare facility.

What should I do before visiting a patient on droplet precautions?

Speak to a nurse before your first visit and before you bring children. There may be limits on who can visit the patient.

When a patient is on droplet precautions, there are certain situations where you may be required to leave the room.

What should I do before I go into the patient’s room?

  1. Clean your hands. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer (alcohol-based hand rub).
  2. Put on a mask first and then eye protection—prescription glasses won’t protect your eyes.
  3. Enter the room. You can leave the door open or close it.

If you wear religious or cultural head coverings, find tips for wearing a mask and eye protection.

What should I do when I leave the patient’s room?

  1. Clean your hands.
  2. Leave the patient’s room. The door may stay open or closed.
  3. Take off the eye protection and then the mask using the elastic loops or ties and put them in the garbage. Don’t touch the front of the mask. Don’t wear the mask or eye protection in other parts of the healthcare facility.
  4. Clean your hands again.

Can a patient on droplet precautions leave their room?

A patient on droplet precautions may leave their room only if necessary (for example, to go for a medical test). They must wear a mask at all times when they’re out of their room.

How else can I stop germs from spreading?

  • Don’t visit a patient in a healthcare facility if you have a fever, cold, or diarrhea.
  • Don’t visit if you have recently been around someone with a contagious disease (this means a disease others can catch, such as chickenpox or the flu).
  • Use public washrooms at the healthcare facility. Don’t use the patient’s washroom.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about how to stop germs from spreading.

To see this information online and learn more, visit


Related to Droplet Isolation Precautions

For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: February 1, 2023

Author: Infection Prevention and Control, Alberta Health Services

This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.