Healthcare workers treating patients with Covid-19 are at risk of infection themselves. They use personal protective equipment (PPE) to shield themselves from droplets from coughs, sneezes or other body fluids from infected patients as well as contaminated surfaces that might infect them.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 virus would linger for less than four hours on copper, 48 hours on stainless steel and 72 hours on plastic.
In a healthcare setting, PPE includes head covers, fluid-resistant surgical or N95 masks, disposable gloves, long-sleeved fluid-repellent gowns or aprons, eye goggles, face shields, boots or closed shoes
A full set of PPE includes:
1. Face shields : Cover the face with a clear plastic screen
2. Gloves : Protect hands and wrists
3. Gowns/aprons : Protect skin and clothing
4. Masks and respirators : Protect respiratory tract from airborne infectious agents
5. Googles : Protect eyes
It is a must for any healthcare workers treating Covid-19 patients to wear a full set of PPE
For those medical officers performing activities like physical examination, blood-taking, nose or throat swabs, transporting patients, and even cleaning a decontaminating a room; a full set of PPE should be donned.
They jobs are very risky as they may contaminate themselves when they remove it, so it must be done appropriately. PPE becomes even more important now as the cases are increasing day by day.
However, it may be uncomfortable to wear as we’ve seen on the news reported where some medical officers fainted after wearing the full PPE suit for long hours. The items are of one-time use only and will have to be discarded once used or exposed to a patient.
This is step-by-step to wear a full set of PPE
Imagine you have to wear a full set of PPE from head to toe for over two hours in sweltering heat. They have to staying in it for hours and can’t drink water or go to the washroom to avoid the PPE from contaminated. Healthcare officers have to go through this harsh experience as the front lines of Covid-19 management.
It’s not easy for them and by the time their shift ends, they are drenched in swear. What’s more, they also experience dehydration, hypoxia due to decreased supply of oxygen as well as skin rashes. One of the way we can help doctors, nurses and hospital workers right now is stay at home. Remember to put on face mask if you need to go out and always sanitize your hands.