Introduction to PPE and Its Importance for Public and Frontliners
Introduction to PPE and Its Importance for Public and Frontliners

Who would have thought that the Covid-19 pandemic will become prevalent in the whole world and disrupt our normal lives forever? The worst thing about this pandemic is how it transfers from one person to another and infects within no seconds.
This pandemic is caused by the transmission and infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Before Coronavirus, the world witnessed a similar outbreak of such magnitude back in 1918 when influenza broke out.
Because of its magnitude, instant transmission, and resilience, Covid19 has caused the nations, healthcare workers, and the public to demand personal protective equipment (PPE). This virus, once transmitted to a human, can survive without causing any symptoms from two days to fourteen days. For some people, it can stay inside them for as long as the infection is there.
What is PPE?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes all the equipment that protects a person from all sorts of health or safety risks. In different industries, different PPE is needed. For instance, in an industrial sector, PPE includes headgear, eye protection, visible coating, and safety footwear.
On the other hand, in the healthcare industry, PPE includes head covers, N95 or surgical masks, disposable gloves, eye goggles, long-sleeved fluid-repellent gowns or aprons, face shields, and closed shoes or boots. As far as the general public is concerned, for them, PPE includes basic face mask (either surgical or N95 masks) and hand gloves.
Why Do We Need PPE?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is so small that it is invisible to our naked eye. This virus spreads through close contact with the infected aerosol droplets from an infected person. The virus can easily enter our body when we breathe in these infected droplets or touch a contaminated surface. After that, when we touch our exposed organs such as eyes, nose, mouth, or entire face, which are not covered by any PPE.
The virus can also be spread by infected individuals who are asymptomatic which means those who do not show any symptoms of Covid19.
According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was discovered that the coronavirus can linger for less than four hours on copper, 48 hours on stainless steel, and 72 hours on plastic. It stays longer on plastic.
It is believed that this virus is here to stay until the vaccine comes out. Until that time, people cannot sit back at home and do nothing. They require to go out, visit supermarkets, do their groceries, get the needed medicines, etc. On the other hand, all the important industries such as healthcare, transportation, public security, energy, food, water, and communications need to work. This means people working in these industries will be exposed to risk and they all require PPE.
PPE holds the utmost importance for healthcare workers. Even the general public needs it the most. Any person can be the carrier of the virus. However, by using PPE, they can limit the spreading of the virus. By wearing a face mask, they can prevent infecting others with their aerosol droplets. Hand gloves can prevent them from contaminating a surface in case they touch it by mistake.
PPE for the Public
Coronavirus was discovered less than five months ago. Every day we get to see plenty of new information and research on the virus pouring in from everywhere.
It is still an ongoing debate as to whether or not the general public should wear a face mask when going out to get some essential items. However, if we take a look at history, we come to realize that something is always better than nothing.
By looking at the old pictures from the 1918 influenza pandemic surfacing on the internet, we see that people wore face masks and avoided public gatherings while maintaining social distance.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already given guidelines to the general public on basic protection against the virus. They have told people to wash their hands regularly with soap and water, practice social distancing, and keeping your mouth and nose covered while coughing or sneezing.
WHO has advised wearing face masks if a person is looking after a person who is infected with the Coronavirus infection and if a person is coughing or sneezing.
PPE for Healthcare Workers
PPE for healthcare workers holds more importance than the general public. Also, the PPE for healthcare workers is much more complex than those for the public. It also depends on the level of exposure to a coronavirus infected person.
The healthcare workers are said to be more likely to get infected with Covid19 than the general public. Face masks are said to be a necessary item for all the healthcare workers when it comes to preventing virus transmission.
It is said that all healthcare workers and frontliners should wear a face mask. All those who are engaged in performing tasks such as physical examination, taking nose or throat swabs, blood taking, transporting patients, and even cleaning or disinfecting a room, should wear a full set of PPEs.
The healthcare workers should be wearing PPE in all scenarios even if most patients show no symptoms of the virus. Apart from the frontliners, even the janitors need to wear a full set of PPEs while working. They need to don the hand gloves, surgical masks, closed shoes, eye protection gear, and long-sleeved gowns while working so they can protect themselves from getting the virus.
The only dilemma while using PPE is that most of the items can only be used for one time and need to be discarded once it has been used to exposed to a Covid19 patient.
No person can deny the importance of PPE during this pandemic. Every individual needs to protect himself from getting the virus. Make sure you don the face mask and hand gloves whenever you step outside to get essential items.
While PPE is essential for healthcare workers, even the general public should be wearing it whenever necessary.

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