Nursing, Personal Care Attendant (PCA)

The Spread of Infection, Direct contact, Indirect contact, Airborne contact, Vehicle spread, Vector spread

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The Spread of Infection: There are 5 ways pathogens can spread, also known as Methods of Transmission. 1) Direct contact 2) indirect contact 3) airborne contact 4) Vehicle spread 5) Vector spread.


Direct contact: Direct contact involves skin to skin contact and can happen anytime you touch someone that is sick. Colds are spread by direct contact when someone sneezes into his or her hand and later touches someone germs are transferred. Germs enter the second person’s body if he/she touches his nose, eyes or mouth. Bathing someone, changing dressings or disposing of body fluids, feces, urine, sputum or bloods are other examples of direct contact.


Indirect contact: Indirect contact occurs when you touch dishes, bed linens, clothing or equipment that has been in contact when someone is ill.


Airborne contact: Airborne contact takes place when you breathe in dust particles. The germs that cause these diseases are so tiny that they can float in the air for long periods of time. They “catch a ride” on dust particles, traveling wherever the dust particles go. The germs are suspended in the air after a person sneezes, coughs or talks.


Vehicle spread: Vehicle spread occurs when germs enter your body through contaminated food, drugs, and water or blood products.


Vector spread: Vector spread is the spread of germs through animals and insects. Malaria is spread through infected mosquitos; ticks carry the germs that cause lime disease. Infections are spread by contact with body fluids (blood, mucous, etc.) of an infected person. Among PCA’s, infections are spread most often because workers do not wash their hands often enough, or do not follow proper hand washing technique.