If you weren’t working in the health sector or hazardous materials manufacturing industries, PPEs were items you never had to bother about, unfortunately, that has changed.
From the medical practitioners spending sleepless nights and days to save patients, to regular people like you and I, PPEs are indispensable as a shield that unite us in the face of the COVID-19 onslaught.
We have come to depend on PPEs to protect us from an invisible enemy patiently waiting for moments of carelessness to slip in and cause ill health, pain, and eventually death (in critical cases).
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What are PPEs?
PPEs are Personnel Protective Equipment which are meant to limit the exposure of individuals to possible virus contamination sources. There have been numerous applications for the use of PPEs.
For example, operators in plants where powdered particles are involved in production wear nose masks to prevent assimilating unsafe particulate matter. Gloves are also worn to prevent contact with acids and other corrosive material.
How do they help with COVID?
Considering the fact that the Coronavirus can be transmitted through airborne particles from infected patients, the use of PPEs has become necessary to limit the spread of the virus.
Frontline workers are the most exposed and vulnerable; hence, the need for full PPEs such as protective gowns, surgical masks (preferably aspirators like the N95 masks) and gloves. For the rest of the population, masks are the most essential PPE for two reasons:
*They protect healthy people from inhaling infected droplets either through their nostrils or into their mouth
*They limit the infection to sick people. In the event that an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets are contained within the mask, reducing the risk of infecting other people as well.
Precautions to take
A tool can only work as well as it is used. As good as PPEs are, they can become even more dangerous when not used properly, so these are a few things to keep in mind.
For Medical personnel
Use Disposable Equipment: Actually, this is the safest bet. The chances of avoiding contamination while reusing PPE are almost zero.
Decontaminate and Sterilize: If circumstances demand that you have to reuse PPE, sterilize as much as you can before donning it.
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For the general public
Wear Masks Correctly: You must have noticed that medical face masks have their two sides coloured differently- a side coloured green or blue with the other side colourless.
The colourless side is where the adsorbent material is, which traps stray particles and fluid. Therefore, if you’re a healthy person wearing a medical face mask, ensure that you wear the colourless side is outside facing other people. For infected people, the colourful side should be the one outside, preventing infection from seeping out.
By wearing PPE correctly, you will stand a better chance of protecting yourself from the virus while limiting its spread and keeping others safe as well.