Healthcare personnel delivers care directly or indirectly to patients infected with pandemic diseases like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), avian influenza (bird flu), H1N1 (swine flu), and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
They also prevent the further spread of these infectious diseases. It is necessary for healthcare personnel to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to limit morbidity and mortality of patients in their care, as well as themselves, their family members, and other members of the community to prevent a pandemic’s larger societal progression.
In the last few decades, the transmission mechanisms of pandemic infectious pathogens from a patient to healthcare personnel have been thoroughly investigated to develop PPE. Through these investigations, it has been found that infectious pathogens can be transferred to healthcare personnel through their respiratory organs and dermis via air and liquids (water, blood, etc.), and through mucus membranes (eyes, nose, etc). Thus, respiratory, dermal, and mucus membrane protection are essential for healthcare personnel.
Consequently, different types of PPE have been developed and made commercially. Commonly used PPE includes medical masks, respirators, gloves, gowns, and eye protectors. Some other types of PPE, such as face shields, are also occasionally used by healthcare personnel. Among these, respiratory (medical masks, respirators, etc.) and dermal (gloves, gowns, etc.) protective equipment are primarily textile-based and used regularly by healthcare personnel.
Why is PPE essential?
The use of PPE has recently been prominent in health care institutions such as hospitals, clinics, and clinical laboratories during this Pandemic.
When used correctly, PPE works as a barrier between infectious viruses and bacteria and the human body. They stop them from contaminating the skin, mouth, nose, or eyes (different mucous membranes). PPE has a major role to play in blocking the transmission of contaminants through blood, body fluids, or respiratory secretions.
PPE has definitely played a significant role in containing the Covid-19 Pandemic in most of the countries around the world.
The growing demand of PPE
Healthcare Personal Protective Equipment is witnessing a surge in demand amidst the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe as PPE for healthcare workers is crucial to fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Gloves, Face Shields, Goggles, Face Masks, Coveralls, Head Covers, and Boots are among some of the personal protective equipment with rising global demand.
The key factors which can play a major role to drive the market for the PPE Industry include increasing awareness about the importance of healthcare safety, safety preparedness at healthcare facilities, implementation of stringent safety norms, and emphasizing labor safety at the workplace.
PPE for Healthcare Sector
Different PPE is used for different situations in the healthcare sector from Head to Toe. Chemical Splash Goggles are used for optimum protection against biological splashes in hospitals. Disposable Workwear that does not allow penetration of any chemical or bio agent is used for protecting the body. Face Masks like N95 are suitable to fight against harmful air-borne pathogens, preventing them to enter the human body through the nose or mouth. Similarly, Face Shields are used to act as a barrier, protecting the eyes, nose, and mouth of the user.
There are some important aspects to consider while protecting the health and safety of doctors, nurses and other health care staff. First is to develop awareness on choosing the right PPE depending on a particular situation. Further, it is extremely important to acquire the right training on how to wear different PPE and making sure to understand the correct disposal and storage methods as per health institution guidelines. With any type of contaminated waste, there is always a possibility of cross-contamination, so any medical PPE has to be properly discarded and disposed of.
We are hopeful that while the world will beat this Pandemic with cohesive efforts, we shall never forget the lessons it has taught. Personal safety needs and requirements are going to be the top priority for everyone around the world.