The term personal protective equipment (PPE) is not new and a lot has been said about its importance in securing the lives of people in challenging work environments. In the US, various workplace safety organizations like OSHA have been emphasizing their use for several years. Although important, its utilization was limited until January 2020 to certain industry segments where users were exposed to safety risks due to ambient temperatures, allergens, chemicals, or other pollutants. However, during this pandemic period, several PPE solutions have gained significance, owing to their ability to protect the wearer from COVID-19. Some PPE solutions are recommended for general use, while many are exclusively designed for healthcare facilities. This post explores some popular PPE used in hospitals and general safety.
PPE That Have Gained Prominence During COVID-19
The term PPE refers to various types of protective clothing, which are specially designed to create a barrier between infectious actors and vulnerable body parts like nose, mouth, skin, and so on. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that every worker whose job exposes them to some health risks must have access to PPE. Although masks, gloves, boots, and goggles were widely used industrial PPE supplies, a few more products have gained popularity during COVID-19 in hospitals and other healthcare settings where patients suffering from COVID-19 are cared for. Here are some of them.
- 1. Masks and N95 Respirators: Surgical masks, face masks, and N95 respirators are the personal protective equipment designed to cover mouth and nose for protecting a user from airborne particles and fluid. Although masks and respirators serve the same purpose, they differ in their design and purpose. The following pointers will help you understand it better.
- Face Masks: These masks are designed for non-medical purposes. They can be used by everyone and they are not proven to protect against airborne particles or fluids. Face masks are one of the most popular industrial PPE supplies. The use of these masks is not recommended in medical settings.
- Surgical Masks: Designed for medical settings, surgical masks offer protection from fluids. These masks create a barrier between the wearer and their immediate environment. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), surgical masks offer no protection from airborne pathogens including virus known to cause COVID-19. However, if worn properly they offer protection from large-particle droplets inhalation. They are usually designed as single-use masks and are to be safely disposed of after using.
- N95 Respirators: These are respiratory protective devices that are designed for filtering airborne particles. N95 respirators form a fit seal around the mouth and nose. There are two types of N95 respirators – surgical N95 respirators and N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). Of these two types, surgical N95 respirators are commonly used in healthcare settings.
- 2. Medical Gowns: This garment of clothing makes an important PPE safety equipment for healthcare professionals caring for COVID-19 patients. Medical gowns are usually made of rubber or other durable material, which helps protect the wearer from coming in contact with microorganisms, particulate matter, or bodily fluids. Medical gowns are distinguished as surgical and non-surgical gowns based on their design. The non-surgical gowns are recommended in low-risk patient isolation conditions.
- 3. Medical Gloves: There are several types of medical gloves such as examination gloves as well as surgical gloves. They are designed to protect hands while treating COVID-19 patients. Medical gloves are designed to FDA Class I standards, which means they need to meet the requirements of tear resistance, leak resistance, and biocompatibility.
- 4. Protective Eyewear: They are protective gear designed to protect your eyes from viruses, liquids, and airborne particles.
- 5. Head Covers: These are protective clothing used to cover the head. Head covers are usually recommended for use in cleanroom environments. There are three types of head covers – regular head covers, surgical head covers, and medical hoods. They are equipped with an elastic band that secures them to the head.
- 6. Shoe Coverings: Made of non-woven fabric, these shoe coverings are used over boots to avoid cross-contamination. Shoe coverings feature an elastic band that help keep them in place.
In addition to the PPE discussed above, several virus barrier solutions like the ones given below have gained popularity. They now form part of PPE solutions and are offered by several PPE suppliers in the US.
As the importance of PPE safety equipment is now well understood, it is important to source them from trusted PPE protective clothing suppliers or B2B PPE suppliers. Global PPE is one of the trusted PPE suppliers in the US. The company helps to create a safer society by making the highest quality PPE and safety supplies accessible and affordable to those who need it most. This includes providing safety equipment and PPE in different industrial segments such as education, hospital, retail, transportation settings, and so on.