Standard Precautions are the foundation of all infection control programs and include infection control practices that apply to all patients and situations regardless of whether the infection status is suspected, confirmed or unknown.
The author reviewed Standard Precautions, including two new elements introduced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2007: safe injection practices and respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette. Standard Precautions sometimes are referred to as the first tier of precautions because for some diseases and circumstances, transmission cannot be interrupted completely with Standard Precautions alone and it is necessary to use second-tier Transmission-Based Precautions. The author reviewed the three categories of Transmission-Based Precautions—Airborne, Droplet and Contact—with an emphasis on their use in dental health care outpatient settings.
Conclusions and Clinical Implications
Dental health care personnel (DHCP) should update their infection control programs to ensure that safe injection practices and respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette measures are used routinely. In addition, with the emergence of new pathogens, re-emergence of variant organisms and more patients seeking care in ambulatory care facilities, DHCP need to be aware of additional measures to take when treating patients in their offices who are actively infected with certain organisms to protect fully other patients, their staff members and themselves.