Use of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic-

 

What is personal protective equipment?

Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, coveralls, vests, and full bodysuits.

 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, PPE proved to be an effective method of combating the spread and containment of the pandemic. PPE was used in order to keep from being infected with COVID-19 and also used to prevent further spreading of the virus by disinfecting surfaces that have been touched by someone who is infected with or has symptoms of COVID-19. A study found that PPE helped protect people from becoming sick with COVID-19 in 40% of cases when it was worn 100% of the time while another study found PPE offered protection in 30% of cases when PPE was worn 50 - 74% of the time during pandemic COVID-19.

 

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In the pandemic, personal protective equipment is a key intervention to reduce patient contamination and the spread of respiratory viruses. PPE is defined as any item worn or held by an individual for protection from contact with blood or other body fluids, the air that may contain infectious aerosols, and contaminated surfaces. PPE includes gloves (click here for a wide selection of nitrile gloves), masks (click here to buy disposable 3-layered face masks) (click here to buy 8210 3M particulate respirator N95, medical masks/ 3M 1860 Health Canada approved surgical masks), and goggles, but not gowns. PPE is used in health care settings for protecting workers during medical procedures and patient care; It can also be used for specific occupational settings such as laboratories and dental facilities. PPE is not typically worn outside of healthcare settings, but PPE use has been found to be associated with fewer workdays lost due to respiratory illness. PPE has also been used in emergency response to protect health workers before they are able to leave the area of the emergency. PPE is only effective if it is compliantly used for protection against infectious aerosols and blood/body fluids which can potentially carry pathogens that cause pandemic A or B COVID-19 infections. PPE should be donned when providing care for patients suspected of having pandemic COVID-19 infection, handling suspicious items found at pandemic sites, or being in an area where pandemic A or B COVID-19 have occurred.

 

Methods PPE effectiveness during pandemic COVID-19 was found to be 30% when PPE is worn 50 - 74% of the time. PPE should always be donned before offering care for patients with symptoms compatible with pandemic COVID-19, or who are confirmed to have pandemic COVID-19 infection. PPE use should also be considered if handling suspicious items found at pandemic sites, or being in an area where pandemic A or B COVID-19 has occurred. PPE should not be used outside of health care settings or emergency response. PPE should not replace routine hand hygiene using soap and water but can be used as adjunct protection after routine hand-washing . PPE should be removed before leaving the PPE-required area. PPE disposal should also not come into contact with non PPE required areas or environmental surfaces. PPE requires proper fitting, maintenance, and disposal to ensure optimal protection. PPE use is associated with harder breathing which can cause fatigue if worn for an extended period of time. PPE use has been found to be effective when used 100% of the time by healthcare workers who are trained in PPE donning and wearing techniques .

 

Conclusions PPE was effective 30% of the time when PPE is worn 50 - 74% of the time during pandemic COVID-19. PPE can still offer some protection even if it is occasionally misused or mis-applied. PPE can be effective when used 100% of the time by trained health care workers who are properly fitted for PPE, have knowledge on PPE donning and wearing techniques, and proactively ensure their PPE fits appropriately during use. PPE is not meant to replace routine hand hygiene using soap and water but can be used as an adjunct protection after washing hands with soap and water . PPE should be removed before leaving the PPE-required area. PPE disposal should also not come into contact with non PPE required areas or environmental surfaces.

 

 

 

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