Why the Need for PPE?
The COVID 19 pandemic has caused significant disruption in our lives because of the restrictions being imposed on the general public. Activities, such as travelling, dining out or going to work or the gym, are limited since they increase the risk of transmission and expose everyone to life-threatening effects of the virus.
During this time, health experts encouraged the public to protect themselves from exposure to the virus with the use of face masks and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). Aside from the standard quality, proper use of PPE is vital for it to be an effective barrier against hazardous agents. Different industries, such as construction, food, mining, pharmaceutical and healthcare, have their own PPE kit where specific protocols and techniques are observed in order to use it properly.
The advisory regarding the use of PPE leads to the increased demand for PPE. However, some manufacturers decided to produce PPE with substandard qualities and compromise the safety of the wearer. But here at Dexcon, we only supply premium quality PPE that meets the standard.
What is PPE?
According to Safe Work Australia, the government body for work health and safety, PPE is worn to reduce the worker’s risk of work hazards. In the healthcare setting, it is used to protect the person from infectious substances like blood, saliva or respiratory droplets from getting in direct contact with your skin, nose, eyes and mouth.
That is why PPE in hospitals usually consists of a mask and face shield, gloves, foot cover, respirator and full bodysuit. It is the most important protection and the last line of defence against hazards associated with the job.
Moreover, PPE equipment is designed to meet the basic safety standards and constructed to be reliable in a specific environment. There are several routes of risk exposure, such as inhalation, direct contact and ingestion, but a PPE kit is effective in blocking these routes.
Here are some basic PPE:
Exposure to dust, debris, gas, chemicals, thermal or blood-borne particles requires eye protection because it can lead to serious eye injury and infectious diseases. For health workers, viruses and bacteria can enter through the mucous membrane, and this can compromise the safety of everyone involved.
Goggles and face shields decrease the risk of direct contact when dealing with highly infectious disease cases. They can prevent any splash from bodily fluids or chemicals because of the security shield. However, any protective equipment is able to prevent contamination only when it is used properly.
How to Use It
When using eye protection, such as goggles or face shields, it should sit on your face comfortably and not cause pain or discomfort. It shouldn’t block your vision or cause pinching pressure or dizziness. Make sure the eye protection is clean, and wear it before entering the workspace. Also, discard when there is damage to the equipment.
During the pandemic, respirators can control the risk when other methods are not available. A respirator works in two ways; first, by covering the mouth and nose as the entry point of any contaminants and second, by filtering the contaminated air from entering the airway.
There are various respirators available on the market. The basic one is a surgical face mask where it covers the mouth and nose. For those who are in high-risk areas, an N95 mask is the respirator of choice because it provides a better fit around the face. A powered air-purifying respirator, or PAPR, covers the whole face and has a blower to filter the air.
How to Use It
Clean your hands before putting on the respirator. Make sure the fit is proper in a way that it is not too tight or too loose. The strap should be secured on your ears or head and for a surgical face mask, mould the metal nose piece to create a secure seal.
For the non-disposable respirators, do a seal check to make sure the filters are functioning properly. For disposable ones, make sure to dispose of them properly after use to avoid exposing others.
Designed to protect from dermal exposure, the PPE clothing protects against chemical hazards that can come in contact with one’s skin. Blood, urine, saliva, and other corrosive chemicals are some common fluids that can cause serious health consequences. A protective suit has fluid-resistant properties and is made from durable materials.
When choosing protective clothing, take note of details, such as pore sizes, type of fabrics and level of repellency because certain working environments pose different levels of chemical risks.
How to Use It
A protective gown or suit is often used alongside gloves, respirators and protective eyewear. Make sure you are hydrated and you perform proper handwashing prior to donning the suit. You might need a companion to help you wear the suit and perform a final check. Given that putting on the suit and other equipment is time-consuming, the person is encouraged to go to the toilet first before performing the donning procedure.
Gloves are used when there is potential injury or exposure to hazardous materials or microorganisms in the workplace. Gloves come in different specifications and should be used accordingly.
For example, a surgical glove is able to protect from bodily fluids but is not effective against chemical exposure. Any tear should be replaced immediately. There are nitrile and vinyl gloves for those who are allergic to the usual latex gloves.
How to Use It
Do hand hygiene before inserting the gloves. Choose the right size gloves for proper fit because a glove that is too tight will cause a tear, and it won’t stay on hand if it’s too loose.
Disposable gloves are meant to be used only once and should be disposed of properly to avoid contamination. For medical use, there are techniques that should be observed to maintain sterility. After disposal, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
How Using PPE Can Prevent the Spread of Infection
Personal protective equipment is effective in preventing the spread of infection. PPE safety works by acting as a barrier against infectious agents that can come in contact with your skin, eyes, mouth and nose.
PPE is vital in ensuring the safety of workers, particularly those who are working in high-risk areas like hospitals. It also stops cross-contamination, especially when dealing with patients who are immuno-compromised. In the medical field, the donning of a PPE comes with specific steps to ensure maximum infection control and efficiency with time.
However, PPE should be used with other preventive measures, such as handwashing and sanitizing, to effectively reduce the spread of infection. It also includes the removal and proper disposal of contaminated PPE. When these steps are taken, PPE increases the chances of keeping everyone safe and protected from infectious diseases.
Post you might want to read...
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people have realised the importance of masks. Previously, masks were worn in polluted cities to protect the lungs …
Surgical masks play a crucial role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. For years, healthcare professionals have used them to keep …
Medical devices and products have many advantages but need regulation for safe usage. The effectiveness of a device is determined by the …
For generations, healthcare professionals and patients have relied on personal protective equipment (PPE) to shield them from infectious diseases. In Australia, the …