Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
While diseases such as Ebola, SARS or MERS can seem new and frightening, there is nothing new about the way they are transmitted or the measures you can take to protect yourselves. The goal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is to prevent exposure to harmful pathogens or substances. This means protecting the mucous membranes — the eyes, nose and mouth — from a person’s blood or body fluids.
Gloves, gowns, coveralls, masks, respirators, face shields, goggles, and safety glasses are all barriers that might be used during care for patients who may be contagious. These protective barriers must be worn correctly and removed carefully. It is imperative that healthcare facilities develop PPE ensembles suitable for different pathogen transmission routes and patient acuities. More importantly, healthcare workers must be trained on safely donning and doffing those ensembles, as well as how to behave safely in that PPE and decontaminate and protect themselves during patient care.
PPE tips to remember:
- Cover your mucous membranes to prevent the direct entry into your body.
- Practice careful glove hygiene, including:
- Placing gloves on clean hands
- Remembering to avoid touching clean things (clothing, hair, glasses, environment) with dirty gloves
- Removing your gloves in a safe manner (glove-in-glove or similar)
- Performing proper hand hygiene after touching potentially dirty surfaces and once your gloves are removed