Difference Between Airborne Precautions and Droplet Precautions (With Table)

In different ways, the disease gets spread. The airborne and droplets are two different types of ways by which the disease gets spread. The diseases caused by the air may come under air-borne diseases. The diseases caused by sneezing and talking may come under droplets. Both the diseases have certain precautions.

Airborne vs Droplet Precautions

The difference between Airborne and Droplet Precautions is their infections. The disease transmitted by particles with a volume fewer than five micrometers is called airborne. The disease transmitted by particles with a size of larger than five micrometers is called droplets. During coughing, sneezing, and talking, both the diseases get spread.

Airborne diseases are controlled by airborne precautions. The airborne precautions include regular cleaning. Mycobacterium tuberculosis and respiratory diseases have come under air-borne diseases. Microorganisms are responsible for causing air-borne diseases. Only by special sanitation and continuous cleaning can prevent air-borne diseases. The infectious agents are like dust, it is stuck in your body, and can’t get removed. Some precautions may cause infections via droplets.

Droplets are spread from the source person who has the disease initiated. Diseases like coughing, sneezing are the major resources for the transmission of droplets from one person to another. By several procedures like sanctioning and bronchoscopy, these diseases will be treated. Microorganisms are the major reason for droplet transmission. In the mouth, mucosa, and nose, the droplets may settle like tissues. Diseases like pertussis, Diptheria, and influenza need droplet precautions.

Comparison Table Between Airborne Precautions and Droplet Precautiona

Parameters of ComparisonAirborne PrecautionsDroplet Precautions
Transmission basedAir-borne have pathogens like tuberculosisDroplet has a respiratory illness
IsolationAirborne need ventilated roomDroplets need single room patients to avoid contact.
FocusAirborne focus against airborne particlesDroplet focus against droplet particles
ProtectionAirborne need not cover your bodyDroplets need to cover your hands and nasal area.
EntryAirborne particles entered via the respiratory systemDroplet particles entered via nose, mouth, and conjunctive areas.

What are Air-Borne Precautions?

Particles of size around five micrometers are the reasons for air-borne diseases. The evaporated nuclei contain infectious microorganisms. The dust particles present in the air also cause infectious diseases. Suspended particles remain in the air that may also infect the skin which makes it sensitive and cause diseases. Bacteria and viruses are the basic airborne diseases. Clinical protocol, healthcare protocol, and Physical space are the three measures in air-borne precautions.

In the same room, the microorganisms have a chance to spread widely and rapidly. It may cause severe infections with heavy outcomes. The air currents may responsible for the transmission of those microorganisms. Over a small distance, the microorganisms spread like a speck of dust. Those dust may become infectious and cause diseases. The source patient is responsible for the transmission to other people. Environmental factors are also the factors for transmission.

Patients in the hospital must have a separate facility to prevent transmission. Isolate entrance must be available for them even in the registration area. Hygiene and cough etiquette are must be checked regularly for good reach. Ventilation is needed whatever the disease and must be cleaned accordingly. Respiratory-related diseases are the major diseases caused by air-borne particles.

What are Droplet Precautions?

Droplet precautions are a must in these pandemic situations. Social distancing, wearing a mask, and regular handwashing is the major precautions for droplet diseases. In droplet precaution, one must maintain three feet from the other to prevent transmission. A closed place is also caused diseases by settling the microorganisms. Air ventilation is a must needed for the prevention of disease transmission.

The patients must be prioritized and treated separately. Precautions needed to be taken before going too severe. Awaiting care is a must needed for those patients. Facemask is applied while going out. If you are going out in the summer it is needed to cover your face. The dust around the air cause diseases. The skin becomes sensitive and makes open pores. Droplets are also a disease airborne and cause respiratory problems.

Optimistic, preferential, and obligate are the subclass in the droplets diseases. Optimistic caused by the aerosols. Preferential caused through many routes but mostly by aerosols. Obligate is caused by special transmissions and also by aerosols. The droplet transmission is controlled only by several measures. Patients with measles, smallpox are needed to take personal healthcare. These diseases are easily transmitted via sneezing and talking.

Measures like Performing hand hygiene before and after every patient contact, Use PPE when the risk of body fluid exposure, Use and disposing of sharps safely, Perform routine environmental cleaning, Clean and reprocessing shared patient equipment, Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, Use aseptic technique, Handle and dispose of the waste are need to taken by every individual.

Main Differences Between Air -Borne Precautions and Droplet Precautions

  1. Pathogens like tuberculosis are comes under airborne diseases, and respiratory illness are comes under droplet diseases.
  2. Ventilated room is the one of the precautions for airborne diseases and Droplets need single room patients to avoid contact.
  3. Airborne focus against airborne particles, and Droplet focus against droplet particles.
  4. Airborne precautions need not cover your body, but Droplets precautions need to cover your hands and nasal area.
  5. Airborne particles entered via the respiratory system, and Droplet particles entered via the nose, mouth, and conjunctive areas.


Both of them spread rapidly with various measures. It is vital to take precautions before it spread to another. Airborne particles are spread through the air from one person to another and affect the respiratory areas. Droplets are transmitted through the nasal area and cause various diseases. Both of them cause severe infections in your body. It also may affect your immune system. If your immune system is affected then it has no stamina to fight against the diseases. Covering your nasal area and regular sanitation are the basic precautions for both the disease-spreading particles.


  1. https://academic.oup.com/jid/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/infdis/jiaa189/5820886
  2. https://researchexperts.utmb.edu/en/publications/guideline-for-isolation-precautions-in-hospitals-part-i-evolution
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