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Everything you need to know about PPE for droplet precautions

Why is PPE for droplet precautions necessary? 

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world, many medical terms have become quite common in daily communication. One of those words has to be PPE. PPE is an acronym for personal protective equipment. It is used to protect an individual from any possible hazard or mishap. Only a few must-have imagined that there can be a need for PPE for droplet precaution. The COVID-19 pandemic did make it come true.

Check out this report on modes of transmission of coronavirus by WHO.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a few PPE became essential for just about everyone. Face masks, respirators, face shields, and safety gloves were the primary ones. Ever wondered why these PPE were the chosen ones and recommended by WHO and other medical agencies? This PPE is used for droplet prevention. In this article, we shall discuss the PPE for droplet precautions in detail.

What’s the need for PPE for droplet precaution?

People wearing PPE for droplet precaution

Saliva droplets have been a primary mode of transmission in many diseases, including the COVID-19. These droplets carry the pathogens from an infected individual to the healthy ones. This may potentially pass on the disease to the healthy individual. To avoid this contact, PPE for droplet precaution must be donned. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, people who potentially are involved in a pathogenic environment always don PPE for droplet precaution. A few key professions that wear PPE for droplet precaution are healthcare employees and researchers like virologists. 

Droplet precautions are precautionary measures such as donning PPE taken to avoid the transmission of diseases that can be spread through saliva droplets. Apart from the use of PPE, there are simple droplet precautions as well. Hand hygiene is one of them. Frequent hand wash is vital in removing pathogens.

How are these droplets generated?


Saliva is secreted by salivary glands. These glands are a part of the internal framework of human anatomy. Saliva reaches the mouth to aid the process of chewing. It basically eases the process of digestion. The droplets of saliva are thrown out when a person is coughing, sneezing, and even talking. All the major diseases more or less have coughing and sneezing as their symptoms. 

Are you astonished to know that even talking can spread these droplets? Check out more on how exactly do we spread droplets as we speak?

These processes intensify the number of droplets that are thrown out of the human body. When these droplets enter the atmosphere, they also carry disease-causing pathogens along with them. These droplets can travel a maximum of 3 feet. 

What is the PPE for droplet precaution?

There are several PPE for droplet precaution. PPE for droplet precaution can be used for two main reasons. The first reason is to restrict the droplet transmission at the source. The second reason is to safeguard the individual from any transmission due to the droplets. Let’s get through the PPE for droplet precaution one by one,

Face Masks:

Face masks are PPE that cover the nose and mouth. There are several types of face masks based on their use, properties, efficiency, and material. Face masks can be used for source control as well as restricting the transmission through droplets. Surgical face masks are considered to be the best face masks for droplet precaution.

Interested ones can check out our blog on the definitive face mask guide.


A respirator is a special PPE that protects an individual by restricting the entry of droplets. They are classified based on efficiency and the regulatory agency approving it. For example, the N95 respirator is NIOSH-approved and provides a minimum of 95% efficiency. 

For more details, check out our blog on Ultimate Guide on Respirators.

People wearing PPE for droplet precaution

Face Shields:

A face shield protects the entire human face from droplets. Face shields are also classified into various types. For droplet precaution, the full face shield is recommended.

Hand Safety Gloves:

Safety gloves safeguard hands from droplets. They act as a barrier between the human skin and droplets without affecting the dexterity of the individual. They are widely used by healthcare professionals and researchers. 

How to don and doff the PPE for droplet precaution?

Person wearing PPE for droplet precaution

Proper donning and doffing of PPE is essential for proper protection and to achieve the efficiency of PPE protection. Donning PPE for droplet prevention can be achieved in five simple steps.

  1. Wash hands with soap & water for a minute. In case of its absence, alcohol-based sanitizer can be used.
  2. Wear a PPE gown.
  3. Wear a safety face mask or respirator.
  4. Don safety goggles or a face shield.
  5. Put on safety gloves such that no human skin is exposed.

Doffing PPE for droplet prevention can also be achieved in six simple steps.

  1. Remove the safety gloves properly. Ensure that while removing the safety gloves, they don’t come in direct contact with the skin. Dispose of them safely.
  2. Remove the PPE gown away from your body to avoid any contact. Dispose of it safely.
  3. Wash hands with soap & water for a minute. In case of its absence, alcohol-based sanitizer can be used.
  4. Remove safety goggles or the face shield.
  5. Remove the safety face mask or the respirator with the help of the straps. Avoid touching the mask or respirator.
  6. Now, again wash hands with soap & water for a minute. In case of its absence, alcohol-based sanitizer can be used.

Other precautions

Apart from donning appropriate PPE for droplet precaution, there are various other precautions that one can take. A safe distance of six feet between the individuals should be maintained. Any possible encounter must be avoided. The space should be regularly disinfected.  Immunization is recommended. Restricting movement can also be helpful.

Woman wearing PPE for droplet precaution



PPE for droplet precautions is of extreme importance especially during the outbreak of an epidemic or a pandemic that can potentially transmit via saliva droplets. To ensure that there is no transmission of pathogens via droplets, donning PPE for droplet precautions is extremely necessary.