The nurse observes the formation of new lesions on a patient suspected of having chickenpox. What necessary infection control precautions must the nurse implement?


• Chickenpox is contagious 1 to 2 days before the appearance of lesions and up to 6 days after all the lesions have crusted over.

• The nurse must isolate the patient to prevent transmission to other patients. A private room with negative pressure must be provided for the patient.

• Chickenpox is an airborne infection. Any non-immune healthcare workers should wear a respirator mask (N95 or higher) per the CDC. A regular surgical mask will not protect against airborne viruses. A nurse with acquired immunity (either through immunization or natural disease) does not have to wear a respirator mask per the CDC, but it would never be wrong to do so.

• Wearing gloves is necessary when coming in contact with the patient.

• Protective gowns are not applicable for every visit into the patient’s room unless the nurse needs to get in physical contact with the patient.

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