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How can I prevent the spread of my hospitalized child's airborne infection?

The best strategy to reduce the transmission of an airborne infection is to follow the guidance of the hospital regarding the type of isolation required for the child. If the child is in "airborne precautions," they will be in a special room with negative airflow handling (in other words, the air in the room sucks into the room instead of blowing out of it).  The door will remain closed at all times.  All caregivers will wear N95 respirator masks when in the room, and they may also wear gowns and gloves if they are giving more personal care...depending on the situation.

If the child must leave the room, the caregivers will likely put similar personal protective equipment on the patient/child for movement through the hospital corridors.  Questions about the isolation can be addressed to the nurse or the infection preventionist at the hospital. 
Airborne infections are spread through the air. If your child has an airborne infection, you may be asked to be tested to see if you can spread your child's germs, too. Your child needs to stay in a room with special ventilation, so she will not be able to go for walks or rides outside her room. Always wash your hands before leaving the room.

Here are some precautions during isolation for some airborne infections:
  • Chickenpox: If you have never had chickenpox, tell your child's nurse. Wash your hands before leaving your child's room. You do not need to wear a mask.
  • Measles: If you have never had measles, and you have never received the measles vaccine, you need to wear a mask. If you have had measles or you have received the measles vaccine, you do not need to wear a mask.
  • Tuberculosis (TB): You may be asked to wear a mask when going to and from your child's room. You will have to do this until your child's doctor knows if you can spread TB or not. You may have to be tested to see if you can spread TB. You do not need to wear a mask in your child's room, even though the hospital staff will wear masks.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.