People can prevent the spread of airborne diseases by remaining home when sick; minimizing close contact with individuals who have an airborne illness; using tissues or elbows to cover sneezes and coughs; and wearing face masks, explains the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Proper hand-washing etiquette is also important.
In a clinical setting, health care workers can prevent the transmission of airborne diseases by having patients with airborne illnesses enter the facility through a different entrance than other patients when possible, notes the Minnesota Department of Health. Leaving the patient's room vacant for approximately an hour, depending on how well-ventilated the room is, before allowing anyone else to enter, can also lessen the chances of someone else contracting the illness.
An airborne illness results from tiny microbes that enter the air when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or laughs, explains the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention. The microbes can also be transmitted through close personal contact with an infected individual or through aerosolization. After being discharged from the sick person's body, the microbes remain suspended midair on respiratory droplets, water droplets and particles of dust. Conversely, a contact disease is spread only via direct bodily contact with a sick person or contact with the person's personal items or environment.