PPE, short for Personal Protective Equipment, was not a term used very often or heard of among normal civilians, that is until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It has now become a crucial part of our everyday lives, that we simply can’t live without for our own safety. Here is everything you need to know about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
What is PPE?
PPE is equipment one uses to protect themselves against any harm, whether that be in hospital settings (gloves, surgical masks, etc.) or construction sites (hard hats, steel toed boots, etc.). Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the main PPE used as a barrier between a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, and the virus, are masks. Another crucial PPE equipment is gloves and hand sanitizer.
Importance of Masks, Gloves, & Hand Sanitizer
The virus travels through droplets from one person to another if there is close contact. That’s one reason why it’s important to wear a mask. Another reason is that you can still spread the virus if you have no symptoms (asymptomatic) or if you have the virus but you didn’t start to show symptoms (pre-symptomatic) just yet. So in order to limit the spread of the virus it’s crucial to be wearing a mask.
According to the Government of Canada website, “Medical gloves are essential during the COVID-19 outbreak. They help slow the spread of the disease in Canada and protect healthcare providers.”
The importance of hand washing has also been highly recommended over and over again. The best way to cleanse your hands is by washing your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, then alcohol based hand sanitizer is to be used.
There are many common mistakes people make while using PPE. So here is a list of what not to do.
- Don’t touch yours or anyone else’s mask while it is being worn
- Don’t wear the mask under your chin with your mouth or nose exposed
- Don’t remove your mask while you are around others in public
- Don’t share your mask with family members or friends
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
Importance of Disinfection
Disinfection in non health care settings is very important in limiting the potential COVID-19 contamination in places like homes, offices, gyms, restaurants, hotels, etc. Priority for disinfection should be given to high touch surfaces such as door and window handles, food preparation area, counter tops, bathroom surfaces (taps), personal devices, and work spaces.
It is recommended by the World Health Organization to use bleach or chlorine with a concentration of 0.1% or alcohol at 70-90% (alcohol wipes etc.) to disinfect surfaces. These surfaces should be first cleansed with water and soap to remove the dirt and then disinfected. In indoor spaces, it is not recommended to use spray disinfectants, instead they should be applied via cloth or wipes soaked in disinfectant.