what is the second level of infection control

What is the Second Level of Infection Control?

Your shield against germs for a safe and effective care environment!”

In healthcare professionals, preventing the spread of infections is important. To deal with this, medical experts use multiple levels of protection.

To provide a safe and effective care environment to patients, healthcare professionals must be educated at all levels of infection control.

American Healthcare Compliance created Infection Control Compliance Training in Healthcare. Contact us for more information about our comprehensive training.

Like an extra shield, the second level is important in preventing infections from spreading. Before, talking about “What is the second level of infection control?” it’s important to know the basics.

Understanding the Principles of Infection Control

Infection control means preventing the spread of germs like bacteria and viruses to keep healthcare workers and patients safe. It reduces the risk of infections in healthcare places and maintains a clean and safe environment.

The foundational Principles of Infection Control include:

  • Hand Hygiene: A cornerstone of infection control, proper hand hygiene involves regular and thorough handwashing using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Healthcare workers use gloves, masks, and other gear to create a barrier between themselves and potentially infectious materials.
  • Environmental Cleaning: Regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and equipment help eliminate or reduce the presence of infectious agents, minimizing the risk of contamination.
  • Cover Coughs and Sneezes: Use tissues or your elbow to prevent spreading germs through the air so you can prevent the spread of respiratory droplets that may contain infectious agents.

Safe and Effective Care Environment

Infection control is divided into the following categories to prevent the spread of diseases in the healthcare environment.

Let’s talk about the second level of Infection Control.

What is the Second Level of Infection Control?

The second level of Infection Control is Transmission-Based Precautions, used when patients are known or suspected to have specific infections. These precautions come in three types:

  • Contact Precautions: Used to prevent the spread through direct or indirect contact, requiring gloves and gowns.
  • Droplet Precautions: Aimed at stopping respiratory droplets’ transmission, using masks and eye protection.
  • Airborne Precautions: Designed to prevent airborne transmission with specialized masks and negative pressure rooms for certain infections.

Why is the Second Level of Infection Control so Important?

The second level of infection control is important because it focuses on keeping a safe and effective care environment in hospitals and healthcare settings.

Also involves regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, equipment, and patient areas to reduce the risk of spreading infections.

Proper waste management, handling of linens, and ensuring good air quality are also important. By following these protocols, healthcare facilities can prevent the spread of infections, protecting both patients and healthcare workers from getting sick.

Let’s Continue reading to find out more about the second level of infection control.

Decontamination for Infection Control

Decontamination is indeed a common aspect of the second level of infection control.

Decontamination involves the removal or neutralization of contaminants, such as microorganisms or hazardous materials, from surfaces, equipment, or environments.

It gets rid of germs or harmful substances from surfaces, tools, or places to keep everything clean and prevent the spread of infections.

How Many Levels of Decontamination are there?

There are 3 levels of decontamination for infection control:

  1. Cleaning
  2. Disinfection
  3. Sterilization

Healthcare equipment is categorized into different risk levels based on contamination potential, guiding the appropriate decontamination procedure.

  • Low-risk items, such as furniture and clothing, only contact intact skin or remain non-contact, requiring basic cleaning.
  • Medium-risk items, involving mucous membrane contact or potential contamination with virulent organisms, demand disinfection or sterilization.
  • High-risk items, penetrating skin or entering the vascular system, necessitate a comprehensive process of cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization, particularly when introduced into sterile environments.

So, please continue reading about the three main types of decontamination.

  1. Cleaning

Cleaning is the first step in decontamination, using water and detergents to remove dirt. It doesn’t kill microbes, so objects for invasive procedures need extra steps like disinfection or sterilization. For something to be “clean,” all visible dirt must be gone, especially in medical equipment.

  1. Disinfection

Disinfection uses chemicals, heat, or UV rays to reduce germs on an object. It doesn’t get rid of all germs, but it makes them safe. Objects must be visibly cleaned before disinfection. To kill tough spores, you need sterilization.

  1. Sterilization

Sterilization is like the levels of cleaning, it gets rid of all germs, even the tough ones called spores. You can use special chemicals or equipment like an autoclave for this. But, just like disinfection, things need a good cleaning before they can be sterilized.

The Chain of Infection

You will come into contact with microorganisms from the air, on surfaces, and through interactions with people, animals, and objects around us.

The following are necessary links in the chain of infection, involving bacteria and viruses.

How Do You Break the Chain of Infection?

To break the chain of infection:

  • Wash Your Hands: Keep your hands clean to avoid spreading germs.
  • Use Protection: Wear masks and gloves when needed to protect yourself and others.
  • Stay Apart: If someone is sick, keep a distance to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Get Vaccinated: Take vaccines to avoid getting certain diseases.
  • Clean Your Surroundings: Regularly clean surfaces and objects to remove germs.
  • Be Cautious with Needles: Make sure medical procedures are done safely to avoid infections.
  • Learn About Hygiene: Understand the importance of cleanliness and good habits to stay healthy.
  • Control Insects: Take steps to prevent bugs like mosquitoes from spreading diseases.

By following these simple steps, you can help stop the spread of infections and keep yourself and others healthy.

To Conclude

To sum up, what is the second level of infection control?

The second level of infection control highlights transmission-based precautions and decontamination measures, and it also builds upon the foundational principles of the first level, introducing advanced strategies and protocols to create a safe and effective care environment.

By implementing these measures, healthcare facilities can provide a safer environment for everyone involved, reinforcing their commitment to quality patient care.

Visit us at American Healthcare Compliance or check our course library Infection Control Compliance Training for Healthcare


Q: The statement “sanitation is the highest level of decontamination” Right or not?

No, the statement is not correct. Sanitation is not the highest level of decontamination. Sanitation generally highlights cleanliness but doesn’t reach the same level of microbial elimination as sterilization.

Q: Which of the following types of medical items requires sterilization?

Surgical instruments and items in direct contact with sterile body areas require sterilization to eliminate all microbes.

Q: What do bacteria cause?

Bacteria that grow in pairs and can cause pneumonia are typically responsible for respiratory infections and inflammation of the lungs.

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