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Home > Health Library > Hospital Isolation Rooms
If your doctor wants you to be kept away, or isolated, from other patients while you receive medical care, you may be in a special hospital room, called an isolation room, to keep you separate from other people.
This may be done because you have an infection that can be spread to others or because your condition makes you more easily infected by others.
Negative air pressure
Sometimes isolation rooms use negative air pressure. This helps prevent airborne diseases (such as tuberculosis or flu) from escaping the room and infecting other people. A machine pulls air into the room. Then it filters the air before moving it outside.
In a negative air pressure room, you may be able to feel air being sucked into the room under a closed door or through a slightly opened window.
Positive air pressure
In other cases, such as when a person has a weakened immune system, positive air pressure may be used. Clean, filtered air is constantly pumped into the room. This is done to keep contagious diseases out of the room.
With this type of isolation room, you may be able to feel air blowing out of the room under a closed door.
Other Works Consulted
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007). Guideline for isolation precautions: Preventing transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings 2007. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/2007IP/2007isolationPrecautions.html.
Current as of: December 13, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
December 13, 2018
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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