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Protective Apparel

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to clothing or gear worn to prevent the transmission of viruses, bacteria, and other contaminating fluids. These products are generally utilized in medical and healthcare facilities, such as doctors’ and dentists’ offices, as well as hospitals and labs. While the primary function of PPE is to protect the professional, properly worn PPE can also help protect patients from healthcare-associated infection (HAI). Read More...

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Guide to Protective Apparel

This category offers wearable products designed to protect professionals from infection, also known as PPE. In general, PPE includes the following articles of clothing:

  • Surgical masks
  • Shoe covers
  • Surgical caps
  • Protective eyewear
  • Medical gloves
  • Surgical gowns

Surgical Masks

Surgical masks are generally worn by medical professionals working in the OR (operating room) or ICU (intensive care unit). Dentists, hygienists, and other healthcare practitioners often wear medical masks as well.

In general, surgical masks serve two purposes; they protect the professional as well as the patient from possible infection. When visiting a patient who is severely immunodeficient, family members sometimes wear hospital masks to minimize chances of transmitting airborne pathogens.

There are various styles of surgical face masks to suit every practitioner’s needs. Many masks are disposable, some are pleated, and the majority loop around the ears or can be tied on. One mask, the Fluidshield surgeon mask, comes along with a wraparound visor, which provides both increased convenience as well as optimal protection.

In the past, reusable medical masks were common, but with disposable masks being more affordable than ever, most professionals have moved over to exclusively using disposable masks, since they are the most effective at preventing contamination. When using disposable surgical masks, it is crucial to change them often, as the protection will break down after some use.

If you are a medical student who is required to start wearing a protective breathing mask, take heart; they’re not as annoying as they look! In fact, one medical professional told AvaCare Medical that she’s so used to wearing them, she has often unknowingly left her office still wearing one!

Shoe Covers

Shoe covers are worn by medical professionals over shoes. These covers are designed to create a barrier between the person’s feet and the many germs floating around, and prevent the tracking of germs from one place to another. To increase safety and sterileness, these shoe covers are usually non-slip, and fluid-resistant. Disposable shoe covers, which are worn only once and then placed in the trash, are the most sanitarily effective shoe covers, since their usage period is so brief.

According to the FDA, disposable shoe covers should be worn regularly by professionals who work in the ICU or the operating room, since patients who are in those parts of the hospital are extremely susceptible to germs and the like, and the slightest exposure can lead to a severe case of HAI or worse. If wearing disposable shoe covers is not practical or possible, operating room shoes, or footwear that is specifically set aside to be worn during procedures should be worn. However, shoe covers are always preferable to wearing personal shoes without covers, since shoe covers are fluid repellant, and can be easily removed when leaving the ICU or tending to personal needs during shift. Also, as we mentioned previously, they are often disposable, helping to avoid build-up of germs over time.

AvaCare Medical provides healthcare practitioners with several quality options of disposable shoe covers from well known brands such as McKesson, Halyard, and other leading medical brands.

Surgical Caps

Hair is almost always a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and many other germ species. Wearing a surgical bouffant cap prevents these germs from being transmitted to patients. Surgeon caps also keep hairs from falling onto a patient during surgery. For these reasons, wearing a bouffant cap when in the operating room or ICU is of paramount importance and a crucial part of PPE.

Quality surgical caps, such as those at AvaCare Medical, often have a lightweight, breathable design so that it’s barely felt by the wearer.

Protective Eyewear

Safety goggles, safety glasses, or a safety visor are a necessary protective measure when your eyes may be exposed to airborne germs and fluids. Protective eyewear ensures that your health and vision are safe, while still offering a clear view so that you can perform procedures and tasks efficiently. Important features to look out for in protective eyewear includes styles that can be worn with eye glasses underneath, adjustable straps for a personalized fit, and scratch resistant material.

Surgical Gowns

Medical gowns, like the aforementioned surgical gear, prevent the transmission of pathogens and contaminating fluids, and mitigate the risk of infection which is common among patients with weakened immune systems. They’re often generously sized for flexibility and the fullest possible coverage.

Different gowns offer different levels of AAMI protection. The levels range from one, which affords minimal protection from fluids, through four, which affords protection against bloodborne pathogens during complicated surgeries.

Medical Gloves

Medical gloves are an important part of PPE, since most professionals use their hands practically nonstop when caring for patients. By wearing disposable, protective gloves, these professionals are helping to inhibit the spread of germs. This prevents the transmission of germs from patient to practitioner when the professional deals with the patient.