Cleaning: The removal of surface dirt.

Contact transmission: Spread of infection through (a) direct (body-to-body surface contact) or (b) indirect means (contact with contaminated intermediate objects, such as hands, or inanimate objects, such as countertops).

Cough etiquette: A form of respiratory hygiene that entails voluntary covering of coughs and sneezes with one’s hand, handkerchief, tissues, etc. Because they can be discarded and thus reduce risk of indirect transmission, disposable tissues are preferable to handkerchiefs.

Critical item: One that enters a sterile body cavity, thus requiring sterilization prior to use.

Decontamination: The removal of virulent human pathogens.

Degerming: Mechanical removal of most microbes.

Disinfection: The destruction and removal of pathogenic organisms, especially by means of chemical substances.

Disposable respirator: A respirator that is designed to be discarded after contamination, excessive resistance to breathing, or physical damage, or when odor breakthrough or other warning indicators render the device unsuitable for further use. (See Respirator)

Droplet transmission: Spread of infection through relatively large droplets (≥ 5 µm) propelled a short distance (usually less than 3 feet or 1 meter) by coughing, sneezing, or talking, which then come into contact with the oral or nasal mucosa or conjunctivae of a susceptible host.

Elastomeric: Pertaining to various polymers having the elastic properties of natural rubber. Used in some tight-fitting respirator facepieces.

FDA: Food and Drug Administration. Regulates all personal protective equipment used in a healthcare environment.

Filter: A component used in respirators to remove solid or liquid aerosols from the inspired air.

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