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CoronaVirus disease (shortened as Covid-19) is a virus that traces its origin to Wuhan, a town in China. The virus was first detected in December of 2019. The World Health Organization (also known as WHO) declared it a global health emergency on 30th January of 2020. Since then, the virus has caused millions of deaths across the globe, all the while the restrictions put in place to curb it have led to great economic losses.
Some scientific evidence shows that the virus is spread from one person to another when they are in close proximity to one another, through respiratory droplets. However, other scientific studies have dismissed the probability of the virus being airborne. According to the majority of scientific case studies, close contact with a Covid-19 patient increases the probability of contracting the virus. Therefore, those taking care of these patients (or suspected cases) should protect themselves any way they can.
Whether you are a healthcare professional or not, you need to put effective measures in place to protect yourself against this virus. The strategies that are used in the prevention of the spread of the virus include maintenance of hygiene by frequent cleaning of hands using alcohol-based sanitizers or soap, proper respiratory hygiene, not touching your eyes, mouth, or nose, and maintaining a physical and social distance of at least one meter (recently lowered from 6 feet).
Frontline healthcare workers need to take additional precautions if they are to stay safe. For example, they should use appropriate PPE. What are the specific PPE items and how do they help in the fight against the Coronavirus? Here are the details you should know...
Research by the National Institute of Health says that Covid-19 can survive on surfaces for many hours. The research states that the virus can even lie in waiting for days on plastic surfaces. Disinfecting these surfaces may not effectively get rid of the virus in some cases. Coming into contact with such surfaces increases the chances of contracting the virus.
Therefore, PPE gloves are essential in the control of the spread of the disease. They prevent one from coming into direct contact with the surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus. It is a virus that is easy to spread through touch.
The effectiveness of these gloves in the protection against the Covid-19 virus depends on how they are worn, used, and disposed of. First, you should thoroughly wash your hands or rub them with alcohol-based cleaners before wearing these gloves and after you remove them. Dirty hands provide an ideal environment for the virus to grow and thrive.
What are the specific circumstances in which the use of disposable gloves is important? Here are a few that you should know:
The gloves should be changed regularly and disposed of properly. For example, one should not move with single-use gloves from one area of service to another. Discard them as soon as you finish working with them. Whenever you use protective gloves, clean them with detergents, and leave them to dry. Otherwise, the PPE gloves may only aid in the further spread of the virus.
When one contracts CoronaVirus, they show respiratory symptoms. The signs include dry cough, sore throat, and experience difficulty with breathing. When one coughs or sneezes, they discharge droplets that spread around their close environment. Scientists recommend that people should cover their faces and mouths when sneezing or coughing. However, this may not be effective as some droplets may still find themselves in the air around the sick individual. Additionally, one may touch surfaces with contaminated clothing that was previously used for covering sneezing and coughing.
Proper face masks ensure that discharges from sneezing and coughing are prevented from reaching the open air around the sick individual. Therefore, the chances of an infected person spreading the virus to others is reduced. Additionally, healthy people reduce the chances of breathing in contaminated discharges.
You should wear your face mask properly and ensure that it is always in place any time you are in a place where you are likely to come into contact with the virus. What are the tips that help to increase the effectiveness of the face masks? Here are the most important ones to adopt:
N95 respirators are the most effective face masks. Since the demand for these masks outweighs supply, they are mainly reserved for healthcare workers. Surgical masks are also used in cases where there is a shortage of N95 masks. Cloth masks are recommended for other people. Although they are not as effective as the N95 masks, they still help in curbing the spread of the virus.
Another item of PPE clothing that helps in curbing the spread of Covid-19 is the disposable plastic apron. The aprons are to prevent the uniforms and clothes worn by those taking care of Covid-19 patients from coming into contact with the virus. They are used in a situation where the care provider faces the risk of coming into contact with fluids. The apron should be disposed of after use, as it’s recommended as a single-use item.
Where there are risks of extensive fluid splashes, medical professionals recommend the use of these gowns. The plastic aprons may not help in these situations as it is easy for one to come into contact with the fluids from a suspected case. Where the gown used is non-fluid resistant, one should wear a plastic apron underneath to make the PPE clothing more effective.
Contaminated fluids can also enter the body through the eyes making one contract CoronaVirus. It is in such situations that eye protection becomes necessary. What are the specific items that one can use to protect themselves against contamination through splashes to the eyes? They include:
The use of PPE is important, especially for healthcare workers. When they are used effectively, they curb the spread of the virus by a big percentage. The healthcare workers need to follow the health protocols that are in place. For instance, they should always ensure their hands are clean before putting on the PPE clothing.
Before removing the PPE, ensure you have a waste bag. You should never touch the outer parts of the protective clothing. Dispose of the materials immediately, and clean your hands thoroughly after removing the PPE.
The manufacturing process that the PPE goes through also determines its level of effectiveness in preventing the spread of the virus. Each design should take into consideration the pathogen it is meant to protect against, and its environment of use. The manufacturers should also make the comfort of the wearers a priority as they prepare these materials.