What are airborne precautions?
Airborne precautions are used to prevent the transmission of pathogens by aerosols. If it is deemed necessary to use airborne precautions, based on the screening criteria outlined in the Joint Return to Work Guidelines for Nova Scotia Oral Health Professions, the measures described below must be implemented. If this is not possible, refer to a facility with the ability to provide care using these measures.
In the dental setting, these include the following:
- Fit tested N95 respirator or the equivalent (as approved by Health Canada)
- Eye/Face protection:
It is at the discretion of the DHCP as to what type of eye protection they choose to wear, based on the options outlined in the Joint RTW Guidelines. The important concept – regardless of whether goggles, a face shield, or a combination of both are used – is that the PPE must protect the eyes of the DHCP from splatter, droplets, and aerosols that may be generated during the provision of dental care.
- Gown/lab coat
- Settling times based on air changes/hour (ACH):
|ACH||Time (min) required for removal of 99.9%|
If a patient requires airborne precautions, and your practice does not have floor to ceiling walls with doors, book the client at the end of the day when there are no other clients in the facility. If you are unsure what the air changes/hour are in your facility, allow for 207 minutes of settling time. Clean and disinfect the treatment room once the settling time has ended. Alternatively, as noted above, refer the client to a facility that has the appropriate infrastructure in place to provide care using these measures.