Standard Precautions

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Infection Prevention and Control for Healthcare Personnel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Standard Precautions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of Standard Precautions as the foundation for preventing the transmission of infectious agents in all healthcare settings. Standard Precautions are work practices that provide a basic level of infection control to minimize or prevent the spread of infectious agents. Standard Precautions should be used in the care of all patients in a healthcare setting, REGARDLESS of their suspected or diagnosed infection status.
Standard Precautions guidelines apply to ALL patients and consider ALL of the following to potentially contain transmissible infectious agents, REGARDLESS of whether or not there is visible blood:
  • Blood
  • Body fluids
  • Secretions
  • Excretions 
  • Non-intact skin
  • Mucous membranes
  • Dried blood and other body substances, including saliva
Standard Precautions incorporate work practices that include hand hygiene protocols and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), depending on the expected exposure.