With Safer at Home Orders Relaxing, Using PPE Correctly Is More Important Than Ever
With more and more businesses reopening as shelter in place orders are relaxed across the United States, a large number of Americans will need to wear PPE as part of their daily work routine. But outside of the healthcare industry, how many people have any experience or training on how to correctly use PPE? Doctors, dentists, nurses, and other healthcare staff already practice transmission-based precautions and have an understanding of how to stop the spread of germs and cross contamination. But does the average American know how to take the same precautions?
It’s Easy to Make Mistakes When Putting on PPE
A quick trip to the grocery store provides plenty of examples of how easy it is for any of us to make mistakes when wearing PPE. See the person standing in line wearing a mask over their chin with their nose open to the air? This is not the correct way to wear a face mask or respirator when socially distancing. How about the person wearing gloves but using their cell phone and holding their keys? What happens when they take off their gloves and touch their phone and keys again? Anything they would have touched with the gloves on is now on their hands.
Take Time to Learn to Wear PPE Correctly
Fortunately, authoritative organizations like the CDC provide extensive guidance and resources for everyone. Their guide, Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), though aimed at healthcare workers, gives clear instructions on how to put on and take off masks, gowns, and gloves. This is a necessary lesson for all workers starting to go back into the workplace. With the safety of our communities in mind, Community Attire has prepared this guide in lay terms based on the CDC’s instructions.
Putting On PPE, The Basics
Once you’ve selected the correct PPE to wear given the circumstances, follow these steps to make sure you are putting it on in the right order to keep yourself and people around you safe from spreading viruses like COVID-19.
- Wash your hands or perform hand hygiene with hand sanitizer.
- Put on an isolation gown (for healthcare workers, this is a necessary step, for visits to the grocery store, less so).
- Put on an N95 filtering facepiece respirator or facemask, extending it under your chin. Fit the nosepiece with both hands, avoid pinching or tenting it.
- If the mask/respirator has straps, ensure a good seal by placing the top strap over the crown of your head and the bottom strap at the base of your neck.
- For masks with loops, place them securely around your ears.
- Put on eye protection, either goggles or a face shield.
- Wash your hands or perform hand hygiene.
- Put on gloves and ensure the gloves cover the cuffs of the gown. Note: Healthcare professionals may now enter the patient’s room.