It may not be sexy, but it is necessary to know how to put on and take off your medical personal protective equipment. If you find yourself having to use personal protective equipment or bio hazard suit in the event of some sort of outbreak, it could be your best defense in keeping yourself free of dangerous contaminants.
It may seem like it’s no big deal, and easy to put on and take off, but there is a wrong way, and a right way to do it. In the video below Dale and I show you exactly how it’s done.
What Exactly is PPE?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the gear you will wear to protect yourself against contaminants. This could be related to viral or bacterial concerns. With the correct equipment you will be able to protect yourself from body fluids, airborne particles, and droplet particles when coming into contact with a person who is ill, or who may potentially be ill.
There are several different components of PPE that you will need to have to keep yourself safe and hopefully contaminant free in an outbreak, or if you are keeping someone in an isolation area.
An isolation gown is made of material that is liquid resistant, and although they look like paper, they have a protective barrier to keep the person wearing it dry, and hopefully contaminant free. The better gowns will cover your neck, and some even have a hood. You will want to make sure it covers everything, including your legs, because if your legs are covered, they can be contaminated.
2 Pair of Nitrile Gloves
This may be a bit over kill, but when in doubt, be safe, and use 2 pair of gloves. Not only will you add a barrier, but when you remove the first set of gloves hopefully you will not contaminate the second pair, protecting you a little bit better and hopefully ensuring your safety, and keeping you healthy. It’s a good thing to try and go up one size on the gloves you would typically wear, because it will be easier for you to work in the gloves, especially if you have 2 pair on.
Rubber Bands/Transpore Tape
You will use either rubber bands or transpore tape to secure the ends of your gloves. The rubber bands go on and come of easier, but you will get a more secure fit with the tape. The down side of the tape is that it is very difficult to remove and make sure you don’t contaminate yourself. If you are careful, the rubber bands work well, and are easier to remove.
These are very important to keep any contaminants off of the bottom of your shoes once you leave the isolation area.
This is what will protect your eyes in case something were to splash up, and believe me if something can get into your eyes, it will. So buy a couple of pair of googles for your PPE to protect yourself. You can find face masks with a splash shield attached which will act like a pair of goggles, but if they are too expensive, just buy a pair of safety googles for a dollar, and a box of face masks for about the same price.
Hair cover or Hood
You can find the bouffant caps online, and they will keep your hair out of the way, and protected against potential contaminates. Don’t forget if you have long hair, put it in a ponytail or bun to keep it out of the way, and contaminate free.
Face Masks, Regular and Small Particulate (N95)
These are essential to have, and the regular facemasks are very affordable. You can get a box of 10 at the dollar store. The small particulate masks such as the N95 masks can be expensive, but if you are making an epidemic kit, you will need these. They will work the best to protect you from coming into contact with some really nasty viruses. And after all, you did need to be able to protect yourself, so save the money, and buy at least 2 of these types of masks. Also, make sure you have been ‘fit-tested’ to make sure the mask fits you. A fancy mask that doesn’t fit is like wearing nothing, so make sure your mask fits.
This is good to have several large containers of. Keep one in your isolation room as well as outside. Use this as a first and last step before you wash your hands after leaving the isolation area.
Once you have your PPE, it is a good idea to purchase extra items as you can afford it, because these items are all one time use. So when you can, buy extra and store them away.
A good addition would be to make, repurpose or buy a small dressers to keep all of your PPE in. This is what you would put on the outside of your isolation room, because the PPE is put on BEFORE you enter the isolation area.
If you would like to see this in practice, go to a hospital, and you will see a big STOP sign on a room door, look to the side of the door. Most likely you will see a little plastic dresser. This is where they keep the PPE before going into the room.
And every time you go into that room, you are supposed to put on the PPE, even if you do it 10 times a day. If you want to stay healthy, you need to do it.
So now you are all dressed up and in the isolation room and want to leave, what do you do now? Well you need to take off your personal protective equipent, and you need to do it inside of your isolation room.
So you will need to have a large trash receptacle that is lined with a trash bag. Before you leave the room you remove all of the PPE, and get out of the room hopefully without contaminating yourself.
This is a little more challenging than putting it all on, but with practice it can be done. And if you really want to test yourself to see if you can do it without contaminating yourself, put some chocolate syrup on your gloves, and on the front of your gown.
The goal is to get all of the PPE off without having any chocolate sauce on you, once you are “naked” (you can keep your cloths on) If you have any chocolate on you, you’re contaminated, if not, then you did it correctly!
Throw everything away, and then leave the room, and wash your hands to make sure you are all clear.
The more you do this, the better you will become. Never take anything for granted when it comes to safety, and practice, practice, practice.