PPE, or personal protection equipment, helps protect us from contact from harmful bacteria or viruses. When you take a first aid and safety class, you will learn all about personal protection equipment, or PPE, and how it can help keep you safe. First aid training classes describe the types of PPE that can be used and what can or cannot be reused. Most personal protection equipment is disposable and not meant to be worn more than once. Proper techniques must be utilized when removing PPE, such as latex gloves, so that any bacteria or viruses that are on the glove do not touch your skin while remove the glove or infect others by exposure from it not being disposed of properly.
Cloth masks, respirators, and googles can be washed and reused. They are able to be properly cleaned, sanitized, and can be safe to reuse. Using items for personal protection equipment that can be reused can also be more environmentally friendly by reducing the amount of waste and garbage each day that we use. All other types of personal protective equipment such paper gowns, latex gloves, shoe coverings, and surgical masks should not be reused. Even if those items do not look dirty, it could still be contaminated by viruses and harmful bacteria that you may not be able to see.
Advanced first aid classes can be a great resource on where to find PPE, or personal protective equipment. PPE can be found easily at many pharmacy locations as well as online retailers. Getting an advanced first aid certificate gives you instruction and knowledge on how to use different types of PPE and ways to improvise if you don’t have anything on you that you can use. First responders can also benefit from CPR and bloodborne pathogens training and use that knowledge to help maintain a first responder personal first aid kit that helps them have what they might need in any type of emergency situation to stay safe while helping others.
PPE can be reused on some of the items but not all. Anything that can be sanitized and cleaned such as goggles, cloth masks, and respirators can be reused. All other type of PPE gear were designed to be disposable and should not be reused to limit transfer of possible contaminants.