For infectious disease exposure, Personal Protection Equipment is explicit clothing or equipment refers to prevent or reduces contact with the infection. In pandemic situations, you can ensure the infection control and prevention through personal protective equipment (PPE). People can use PPE to reduce the transmission of contagious diseases when other measures such as engineering controls and work practices cannot eliminate exposure.
When using the right way, Personal Protection Equipment such as face masks, hand sanitizers, disposable medical gloves, and face shields provide physical barriers to protect the hands, skin, clothing, eyes, nose, and mouth from coming in contact with infectious agents.
All personal protective equipment (PPE) that is intended for use as a medical device must follow The FDA’s regulations and should meet applicable voluntary consensus standards for protection. It includes surgical masks, N95 respirators, medical gloves, and gowns. The consensus standards and the FDA’s requirements vary depending on the specific type of PPE. When following these standards and regulations, they provide reasonable assurance that the device is safe and effective.
The Role of Personal Protective Equipment in Infection Control
As personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to play an integral role in the prevention of transmission of infection in the healthcare setting, we discover by looking back at the history of protection of healthcare workers (HCWs) and prevention of the spread of infection, that the concept is several centuries old.
Items such as uniforms, pants, blouses, and eyewear not intended to protect against contagious diseases are not PPE.
Essential Personal Protective Equipment
Surgical masks, a well-known PPE to protect the mouth and nose from splashes or sprays of blood/body fluids, or respiratory secretions, and to place on coughing patients to reduce the transmission of spreadable disease.
They may have either ear loops or ties or of molded material. The FDA has approved and certified the surgical face masks as a PPE with fluid-resistant properties.
Standard P2/N95 respirator (or equivalent)
Function: Reduces inhalation of fine airborne droplets by the wearer. (P2 = 94% filter efficiency, N95 = 95% filter efficiency, provided a good facial fit is obtained).
Application: Use for respiratory protection when the wearer exposes to particulate hazards, including when performing AGPs.
Disposable Medical Examination Gloves
Clean, disposable gloves are worn during direct contact with blood/body fluids, mucous membranes, non-intact skin, or any other potentially infectious material. They are also worn as a part of contact precautions (for persons infected with pathogens transmitted by the contact route, such as MRSA, VRE, and RSV) while directly touching the patient or when in the immediate patient environment.
Disposable gloves are available in latex, vinyl, and nitrile materials. Since many individuals are allergic to latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves, can use alternatives. You can use Vinyl gloves for a short-term examination process, but nitrile gloves provide a long-term and durable protective barrier for patient care activities.
Using the PPE is the primary step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in public gatherings when you cannot stay 6 feet away from others or unable to follow other preventive actions suggested by the CDC, WHO, or FDA. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prescribes you wear a face mask in public settings.
According to the recently published Journal of Breath Research, The general concept regarding personal protection equipment such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, etc. is that they can help in reducing the transmission of infectious aerosol from infected people. And also reduce the viral load in the environment.
We have to be ready with all available options to overcome this challenging situation of increasing demand for PPE that leads to the sudden acute shortage, by adopting new ways and innovations to combat this unforeseen situation.