FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is PPE in medical terms?
PPE is an acronym for Personal Protection Equipment. This type of equipment can include face masks, gloves, visors, eye protection, and protective clothing. The goal of PPE is to protect medical personnel when treating patients with highly contagious and dangerous diseases. PPE protects medical staff from contracting infections and from passing those infections along to other ill patients. Typically, medical staff will change PPE often throughout the day. After contact with an infected patient, the PPE is no longer safe and must be removed and replaced with new, sterilized PPE. In surgery, for example, surgeons and supporting staff will dress up in sterilized PPE. Upon completion of the operation, the PPE will be discarded. This ensures patient safety and also protects medical staff from contracting diseases from ill patients they are treating.
Why is PPE important?
PPE keeps medical personnel and patients safe from contagious diseases and infections. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian obstetrician who was the first to discover the importance of reducing the transmission of bacteria in 1847. He discovered how hand-washing prior to treating pregnant patients greatly reduced the risk of potentially fatal infections being passed on to the patient. At the time, basic hygiene wasn’t considered essential to medical procedures. Today, we know that minimizing the spread of infection can save lives. PPE can reduce the spread of viral illnesses like the flu, Covid-19, Ebola virus, and more. Not only does it protect the medical staff wearing the PPE, but it also protects the patients who are being treated in hot zones.
When do you use personal protective equipment?
Personal protection products should be used whenever there is a risk of transmission of viral or bacterial infections. PPE should be used by medical personnel whenever treating patients suspected of viral illnesses like Ebola or Covid-19. In fact, using PPE with any doctor-patient encounter is recommended, however, it is required in hot zones dealing with Covid-19 or whenever there is a requirement for medical staff to come into contact with blood, bodily fluid, or respiratory secretions from patients. The use of PPE is intended to reduce the risk of transmission of disease and to keep patients and medical staff safe from possible contamination.
What are the different types of personal protective equipment?
PPE can include a wide range of products including medical shoe covers, face masks, scrubs, gloves, visors, eye protection, and head and beard covers. These products will prevent physicians and medical personnel from passing or contracting deadly diseases or infections. Medical shoe covers and other clothing, like scrubs, prevent the physician from contaminating an exam or surgical room. PPE is always completely sterilized and safe, meaning it reduces the risk of infecting patients considerably. PPE is disposable and should be changed and disposed of between patients. This is the best way to protect everyone from infection.
How do I properly wear a face mask?
A face mask is one of the key elements of PPE. It prevents the transmission of respiratory secretions between medical staff and patients. In fact, even non-medical personnel have been wearing them to reduce the transmission of Covid-19. A face mask is only effective when it is properly worn and handled. To wear a face mask properly, it must be properly secured over the middle of the nose. The face mask comes with a thin metal rod to make it simple to tighten the mask over the nose. This prevents respiratory secretions from escaping the mask. To maintain sterility, the mask should be handled only by the elastic ear bands. In addition, you should not remove or put on a face mask without sanitizing your hands. If your hands are not sanitized, they may contaminate the face mask and reduce its effectiveness. To maximize your PPE, always use it according to the instructions.
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