Care Homes & COVID-19 Coronavirus Healthcare & Coronavirus NHS & COVID-19 Schools & COVID-19

PPE for COVID 19 – To control & protect from infection

Face Masks - Covid Masks - PPE for COVID 19

PPE for COVID 19 – To control & protect from infection

As the UK lockdown continues and frontline staff in the NHS battle to cope with the numbers of people infected with novel coronavirus, the use of PPE for COVID 19 is crucial.

PPE for COVID 19 (personal protective equipment) including gloves, full body suits, PPE gowns, respiratory masks and surgical masks – has become vital.

As the number of new cases on the graph begins to plateau, the government remains committed to lowering the incidence of new cases.

Testing, tracking and tracing have become the latest strategy in the fight against the virus. The government says that it is making ‘good progress’ in meeting its hoped-for daily targets for COVID-19 tests. An ‘exponential’ increase is expected by the government in future.


PPE for the public

While originally the public thought that PPE was reserved for hospital staff alone, many now want to guarantee their own safety when out and about. With limitations remaining in place on leaving the home, people have become familiar with preventive measures which include wearing PPE, social distancing and thorough hand washing.

PPE for COVID-19 may involve wearing a face mask to stop the wearer from inhaling the virus (or from contaminating others, if you have the disease), and the use of disposable gloves such as, nitrile gloves o protect the wearer from contamination on surfaces.

Most masks available to the public are disposable and low cost, such as surgical masks. You can wash masks gently and reuse them, provided that they have not torn or deteriorated.

When worn, they provide better protection and peace of mind than wearing nothing at all. However, clearly, you should never share a mask with someone else.


PPE for COVID-19 medical staff

NHS PPE – In the medical sphere, PPE for COVID-19 usually involves goggles, masks, hair covers, gloves and gowns (with a combination of gloves, gowns and masks typically adopted by hospital staff).

These measures provide protection against viral or bacterial infection, including respiratory secretions, blood, body fluids and other excretions from infected patients.

Face shields, which protect the entire face, are used in crowded medical environments to prevent fluid-borne illness. They prevent splashes and splatters from reaching the wearer’s face.

Full body suits – comprising fluid-resistant plastic fibre – allow full movement in a hospital setting. They protect against viral agents and provide reassurance against infection. They must, however, be correctly removed in order to avoid infection being transferred from the external layer.

N95 and N99 masks catch airborne particles, from small aerosols to big droplets. These respirators are successfully reused.

Hair covers help to protect the wearer’s scalp, and maintain a sterile environment.

The gloves used by healthcare staff are medical grade and are commonly made of polyurethane, nitrile, polyvinyl chloride, or natural rubber latex.

A high percentage of PPE is disposable, with shortages occurring, given the pressure of large numbers of infected patients across healthcare environments.


COVID-19 research

The likelihood of a cure within the next year remains remote according to Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer. Meanwhile, hopes have been raised with the beginning of coronavirus vaccine trials carried out on humans by British researchers at the Jenner Institute, part of Oxford University.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine candidate has been trialled on over 300 people so far, and it appears to be safe.

Until a vaccine is confirmed, PPE for COVID-19 is recommended for health staff and public alike.

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