PPE is the term that you all must have heard a lot in the past few weeks, especially in terms of shortages for different medical professionals. PPE stands for personal protective equipment, and it's one of the essential ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep the healthcare workers like doctors, nurses, and others safe, that are presently on the pandemic's frontlines and are safeguarding life.
World Health Organization (WHO) explained that today's global stockpile of PPE is inadequate, especially for medical masks and respirators. They further added that adding that the supply of goggles and gowns is shortly expected to be insufficient too. The WHO also states that the present PPE shortage is not only driven by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases but even more by panic buying, misinformation, and stockpiling of these products.
This results in great pressure on supply chains with emerging significant shortages of PPE. Several health systems have started distributing PPE because this pandemic will possibly go on for some time to avoid a situation where there is no PPE.
What exactly is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Personal Protective Equipment PPE works as a barrier between an individual’s mouth, skin, nose, or eyes, and bacterial infections. Moreover, PPE includes elements like earplugs, safety glasses, coveralls, hard hats, and more. When utilized properly along with other additional infection control practices such as covering coughs and sneezes, hand-washing, and applying alcohol-based hand sanitizers, reduces the spread of infection from one person to another.
In connection with COVID-19 which spreads between people through close contact or droplets from the affected person, PPE includes the following:
- Medical masks
- Respirators (N95 or FFP2 standard, or equivalent)
- Eye protection
- Closed-toe work shoes or boots
These can differ among medical professionals, hospital cleaners, and patient visitors.
How to Choose the Correct PPE for the Workplace
All PPE's are carefully designed and constructed, they should be maintained properly. They must match and fit comfortably in order to encourage worker use. However, employers should also guide each worker to understand:
- When it is required
- What kind is essential
- The limitations of the equipment
- How to correctly put the gear on, adjust, use as well as take it off
- Proper care, maintenance, and disposal of the equipment
For every worker who uses PPE, a PPE program should be implemented that covers the risks and dangers present. It will explain all about the maintenance, selection, and effective use of PPE, along with the training of workers.
Why is PPE important?
The researchers agree to the fact that the healthcare specialists that are serving away from home had very limited social interactions after work, which apparently contributed to the absence of infection. But this does not change their judgment that proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is effective in preventing infection in healthcare professionals that work in extremely exposed environments. They also add that healthcare systems need to give priority to the distribution of personal protective equipment, and must provide suitable training to healthcare professionals for its proper use.
PPE is important because it makes you prepare for any health and safety risks and provides you extra protection in the event of an accident or against the risk factors. PPE is critically important as it is commonly used where other measures are insufficient and it also plays a significant role in limiting and reducing many occupational accidents, injuries, and infections.
Some of the most important reasons why PPE is necessary:
- It's there for you
- You are important and it protects you
- It's your last line of defense
- It's easy and affordable
- It is comfortable
- It's there if all else fails
- You can check it and control it
- It's built for a purpose.
- It's tried and tested
- It protects your health and safety
- It helps you breathe
- Your family needs you
- It gets you on site
- It sets a good example
- It shows you care
- It gives a good impression
- You will be ready for visits
- It's your responsibility and duty
Some Safety Measures to Adopt:
- Avoid visitors, patients, or staff that have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Ensure personal hygiene and regular hand washing.
- Manage proper isolation between the patients with known or suspected COVID-19 entirely separately from those without it.
- Reduce unnecessary patient and surface contact during patient care.
- Best practice of wearing and distributing PPE.
- Reusable equipment should strictly be decontaminated after use.
- Proper waste management.
All the above analysis shows that PPE if properly used, removed, and discarded, is effective in protecting both the person who uses it and those with whom that person comes into contact. It is additionally very important for users to test new PPE clothing and equipment designs to make sure that the job is done in a convenient manner. Safety demands compliance with all essential procedures and comfort.