Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is an important part of any healthcare facility. But with the current pandemic, supplies of PPE are running short. Hospitals in the U.S., especially small and public hospitals, have been reporting shortages of key equipment needed to prevent the virus from spreading. This causes some health workers and other essential workers to reuse their PPE like masks, face shields, safety goggles, and gowns.
Essentially, PPE should be disposed of after use. Gloves, surgical masks, coveralls, and other protective gear should not be reused nor shared. However, these are extremely difficult times. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow, the need for protective personal equipment and other vital supplies such as body bags, thermometers, and respirators also increases.
Reuse of PPE
In times of severe shortages such as this new coronavirus outbreak, conservation of PPE supplies may be considered. The general rule is to examine the PPE for any faults, damage, wear and tear, dirt, etc. If the equipment is still ready for use, strict decontamination and sanitation protocols should be followed. It’s best if designated personnel focus on this process to make sure that they are done properly.
Face shields and safety goggles or glasses may be reused. Clean it by carefully wiping the inside and the outside of the equipment with cleaning wipes or a cloth with a cleaning solution. Then clean both sides using a hospital-grade disinfectant. After that, fully dry the face shield or safety goggles. Remember to use gloves in performing these tasks. Perform hand hygiene afterward.
Washable isolation gowns may also be utilized if no disposable medical gowns are available. Launder the washable gown after each use. Meanwhile, single-use gowns should not be reused since they are prone to breakage when removed.
Masks and respirators may be reused if they are not visibly soiled, moist, or damaged. There should also be a face shield over the respirator to minimize contamination. If masks are used with confirmed COVID-19 cases, they are already considered contaminated. Throw the masks immediately. There are no safe decontamination protocols for infected masks.
Again, the reuse of personal protective equipment is not advisable. This should only be done if supplies are extremely scarce.
If you want to donate personal protective equipment and other medical equipment to hospitals and medical facilities, you can order through our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check on each product to see the minimum order quantity required. All our prices are already distributor-friendly so you don’t have to worry about getting off-the-shelf prices.