PPE – Why is It Important?

PPE, or personal protective equipment, refers to any type of protective clothing or gear that you wear to keep yourself safe from bloodborne pathogens (BBP) and airborne pathogens and viruses. There are a variety of different types of personal protective equipment, or PPE, available to both medical professionals, members of critical career fields that must be protected from on-the-job-hazards as well as the general population. The type of PPE you need depends greatly on the environment where you work and what you are trying to protect yourself from. For example, medical professionals working hospitals or medical treatment centers will need more personal protective equipment than an individual who works from home or an office setting. 

PPE can be purchased online, at drugstores, and at medical supply stores. Staff at both stores can help you select personal protective equipment and teach you how to use any of it that you are unsure about. Medical grade PPE is often not available for purchase by the public. This ensures that medical staff will be able to get the PPE they need to perform their jobs.

The most common two pieces of PPE that individuals use are the surgical face mask and disposable latex gloves. The surgical masks are used to keep germs from spreading from one person to the next. The surgical mask helps to filter out any viruses in the air and makes it harder for you to inhale them. The gloves protect your hands from touching something that has become contaminated or infected. If you choose to use disposable latex gloves, be sure to remove them properly to decrease the chance of someone else becoming infected from the germs on the gloves. To properly remove a disposable latex glove, take the end near the wrist and pull down forcing the glove to be inside out once removed. This keeps any contaminants on the inside of the glove and away from people’s hands. Be sure to use soap and water before putting on new gloves and after removing the old gloves. 

Other types of PPE, or personal protective equipment, include goggles, face masks, face shields, aprons, respirators, hard hats, gloves, helmets, and surgical masks. Shoes covering and full body suits can also be used to protect you from pathogens.

PPE keeps you safe and helps prevent the spread of germs, harmful bacteria, and viruses. Learn more about the proper use of PPE in your workplace by clicking the link below!


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