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Airborne pathogens

Airborne pathogens

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Airborne pathogens are microorganisms that travel through the air, often in tiny particles, and can cause infectious diseases in humans and other animals. Examples of airborne pathogens include influenza, the common cold, measles, mumps, and chicken pox.

Transmission: Generally, these pathogens enter the body via the nose, mouth, or eyes. Airborne pathogens are spread in severalways. One common way is through droplets that are expelled when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These tiny droplets can travel through the air, landing on surfaces and people, and can be inhaled into the lungs. People can also become infected through direct contact with an infected person, such as when they share utensils or touch the same objects. Airborne pathogens can also be spread through contact with air-borne dust particles and aerosols, which can be found in poorly ventilated areas.

Prevention: To prevent the spread of airborne pathogens, it is important to practice good hygiene and take other preventive measures. These include: washing hands regularly with soap and water; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that may be contaminated; and avoiding contact with animals or animal droppings. Getting a flu shot yearly is also important to protect against the influenza virus.

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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Airborne Diseases. Retrieved from
  • Mayo Clinic. (2020). Airborne Diseases: Types, Prevention, and Treatment. Retrieved from