In order for personal protective equipment (PPE) to be effective, it needs to be worn and disposed of correctly. If you don’t know how to put on PPE correctly, it can render the equipment ineffective. In addition, taking it off improperly can cause contamination and undo what the PPE was meant to protect against. In this article, you’ll learn how to put on and remove some of the most common forms of PPE so you can ensure that you are doing what you can to protect yourself and others.
Masks are designed to protect the user from infectious air droplets from other people, as well as protect others in the case that the user may be infected. This is why masks are one of the main forms of PPE when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19 since it protects the user and those around them.
When putting on a mask, whether it be a respirator or surgical disposable mask, you want to make sure that it fits snugly on the face and that it covers the nose and mouth with no gaping that could allow droplets to enter or exit.
Wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer before placing the mask on your face. Do your best when wearing a mask to not fidget or readjust it as this usually leads to touching your face which is something you want to avoid. Get a new mask should your mask become damaged or wet.
When removing a mask you want to wait until you are no longer at risk of coming into contact with contaminated droplets from others. Remove your mask by the ear loops, do not touch the front of the mask, immediately dispose of it in the trash. Wash your hands or apply an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after removing your mask.
If you are in a situation where gloves are required you want to make sure that you wash or sanitize your hands before putting the gloves on. Similar to the mask, it’s important you make sure that you aren’t touching your face while wearing the gloves. You also want to be careful that you’re not touching multiple surfaces unnecessarily while wearing the gloves so that you aren’t spreading germs and particles from one spot to another.
When removing gloves, you want to grab the end of the glove and roll it down and inside out, away from your body. Dispose of the gloves immediately – don’t set them down on a table or other surface – and wash your hands or sanitize immediately afterwards.
Hand washing still remains the most recommended step from medical professionals regarding COVID-19. When you’re out in public for a period of time you’re likely to encounter several high touch areas and it isn’t always feasible to wash your hands as often as recommended. The key to using hand sanitizer effectively is to be thorough. You don’t just want to squirt it on, clap, and assume you’re disinfected. Instead, you want to apply a dime-sized amount to your hand and rub it in all over the top and bottom of your hands as well as between each of your fingers. You can also use sanitizing wipes which are equally effective when used properly and very convenient to bring with you.
Tips for PPE Use
PPE is most effective when it’s used consistently and properly. This includes disposing of the PPE in the proper receptacle immediately after use and washing your hands before and after wearing it. It’s best to have back up PPE readily available so that you don’t find yourself in a situation where you are stuck without it. This may mean carrying sanitizing wipes with you in your bag or keeping an extra mask or two in your car. Pay attention to your hygiene when putting on and more importantly, removing PPE. You can actually contaminate yourself if you don’t remove your personal protective equipment properly.
The main things to remember are:
- Wash your hands or sanitize before putting PPE on
- Ensure masks aren’t gaping
- Don’t touch your face while wearing PPE
- When removing, don’t touch the potentially contaminated area of the gear
- Don’t place used PPE on any surfaces, dispose of it immediately
- Wash or sanitize hands once you’ve removed PPE
SOS is your partner for PPE education and equipment. Call with your orders or questions any time: 888.705.6100