PPE For COVID-19: All That You Need to Know

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PPE, or personal protective equipment, are protective apparel worn over a person’s body and clothing to prevent exposure to viral contaminants and other safety and impact hazards.

PPE gear used to be enforced only in workplaces with occupational hazards to the employees’ health and safety. Workers in hospitals, laboratories, construction sites, and factories, among others, are all required to wear PPE.

The pandemic has reshaped what “normal” means. Due to the risk of transmissions, the use of one form of Personal Protective Equipment or another has become our body’s main defense against any chances of acquiring infectious diseases, especially Covid-19.

Most especially in the workplace, it is integral that we abide by safety guidelines to protect the welfare of our patients and employees.

What is PPE?

Personal Protective Equipment are apparatuses and accessories that act as a barrier between infectious particles (virus, blood splatters, biohazards) and a person’s skin, mouth, nose, and eyes.

PPE gear varies with every scenario depending on the type of risk involved. With COVID-19, the transmission is through close physical contact, so the recommended set of PPE apparel is one that encloses the skin and is impenetrable by solid particulates, infectious contaminants, biological secretions, and liquid splatters.

The following are the list of items in the PPE safety gear for Covid-19:

  • Respirator Masks (KN95 or N95)

Respirator Masks protect the respiratory system (nose, mouth, and lungs) by effectively filtering harmful microbes, viruses, and other particulate matter that may cause irritation and infection. N95 masks are based on US standards, while KN95 respirators are based on world regulatory standards.  Respirators should be worn for a maximum of eight hours and replaced as often as necessary.

  • Surgical Masks

Surgical Masks prevent the wearer from expelling harmful biological spatters towards the environment. Surgical Masks can only be used for up to eight hours. Masks should be discarded and replaced as soon as they become contaminated.

  • Protective Gowns

Medical Coveralls cover the entire body from the head, limbs, and torso excluding face, and effectively repels moisture, fluids, microbes, and biological matter. Disposable Emergency Medical Coveralls are good for a maximum of 8 hours in use.

  • Medical Safety Goggles

Protective Goggles enclose the entire area surrounding the eyes against contact and exposure to pathogenic microorganisms, infectious microbes, and liquid spatters. The goggles can be reused as long as the wearer follows correct safety disinfection protocols.

  • Face Shields

Face Shields protect the face including the eyes, nose, and mouth against exposure or contamination from bodily fluids and solid particulates. Face Shields may be repeatedly used as long after every usage the correct disinfection process is followed.

  • Medical Gloves

Medical Gloves enclose the hands and protect against exposure and contamination from biological fluids, liquid spatters, and other hazardous or infectious particles. Gloves should be used for a maximum of 8 hours only and should be discarded after use or exposure to contaminants.

In deciding which PPE to use, it is necessary is to identify the person’s level of exposure and the kind of protection it warrants.  The usage is different for every scenario, with healthcare personnel and essential workers deemed as the topmost priority for PPE. Equipment must be sterile, CE-marked, and must pass the standards set by Personal Protective Equipment Regulations endorsed by the WHO.

How To Wear PPE?

Wearing PPE properly is the only way to ensure it performs to its maximum effectivity.

An important consideration in wearing PPE is that one garment must not interfere with the other. The entire ensemble must work together at its topmost functionality. Especially in the facial area, the face shields, goggles and respirator must be properly placed and tight fitted with no leakages and no interference with one another.

To wear PPE, here are some important steps:

  1. Identify and gather the proper PPE (ensuring the correct fit and size).
  2. Wash hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.
  3. Put on the Medical Safety Coveralls.
  4. Wear the respirator mask (KN95 or N95) while ensuring that the nosepiece is fitted to the nose. Place the loops around the ears. Both nose and mouth should be covered.
  5. If a mask is unneeded, secure the top tie on the crown of the head and the bottom tie on the base of the neck
  6. Put on Face Shields / Goggles. Use the most appropriate face protection that does not interfere with the seal of the mask.
  7. Put on the gloves.

How To Remove PPE gear?

The following are the steps to remove PPE. Safety is the number one concern so these steps must be strictly followed to ensure that the body does not meet PPE that may have been contaminated or exposed already.

  1. Remove gloves properly using a technique that does not contaminate the hands.
  2. Remove coveralls gently, avoiding unwanted contact of the external part with the skin.
  3. Wash hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.
  4. Remove the face shield or goggles by grabbing the strap and pulling it upwards, away from the head.
  5. Remove and discard the respirator or mask without touching the front of the mask.
  6. Wash hands thoroughly.

Conclusion

Personal Protective Equipment provide a complete, overall protection to all body parts that are vulnerable to the spread of infections. With the global rise of Covid-19 cases, it is our adherence to strict preventive measures that will ensure our health and safety, and the overall continuity of our enterprises.

Doctor Medica offers WHO-recommended Personal Protective Equipment. You may visit our selection of PPE here.


Note on articles: These articles are not endorsed by DoctorMedica nor reviewed for medical accuracy. Similarly, views and opinions expressed are those of the author only. Articles are meant for informational purposes only. Ask your doctor for professional medical advice.