Healthcare personnel require a specific set of PPE to keep themselves safe when taking care of COVID-19 patients. This equipment is not the same as the type of protective wear you should wear when going out in public. It’s crucial for you to distinguish the differences between these two sets of equipment so you know what you need to purchase and what you should avoid when stocking up on protective equipment against the coronavirus.
Whether you are stocking up on a new kit or reloading your current PPE kit contents, make sure you check this guide out on 5 things you actually need to store in one.
5 PPE Kit Contents You Actually Need
Make sure you have these items in your COVID-19 protection kit
When compiling your own personal protective equipment kit for at-home use, you need to make sure you have the essentials such as:
- Several masks that you can rotate
- Bottles of hand sanitizer
- Gloves if you are taking care of someone sick
- Boxes of tissues for anyone struggling with allergies or a cold
- Disinfectant wipes for cleaning
These supplies will help keep you safe and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As you shop for them, make sure you are purchasing effective and durable supplies made of proper materials. The last thing you want to deal with is flimsy or inefficient equipment that leaves you vulnerable.
1. Several masks that you can rotate
The CDC recommends that people wear face masks whenever they are out in public or interacting with people who live outside their household. Masks will be especially crucial if you find yourself in an area where keeping a 6 foot distance from others is difficult or impossible. When widely used by people in a public setting who also maintain their physical distance, masks can be extremely effective in reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
There is a small percentage of people who should not wear face masks however. This includes children under the age of two or anyone who is incapacited or unable to remove the mask themselves. Some young children, autistic people, and people who struggle with PTSD may have trouble wearing a mask at first. However, there are methods you can practice to help them get used to the mask over time.
2. Bottles of hand sanitizer
Back in the early days of the pandemic, hand sanitizer was scarce and difficult to find. Thankfully, stores have since restocked on hand sanitizer (and toilet paper) for people to pick up. Hand sanitizer is crucial for situations where you do not have any soap or water available to you. When looking through different types of hand sanitizer, make sure you choose one that contains at least 60% alcohol.
If you don’t want to deal with hand sanitizer that dries out your hands, you can purchase one that contains moisturizing and skin healing ingredients. You can also massage your hands with anti-bacterial hand cream to help heal dry, cracked hands.
3. Gloves if you are taking care of someone sick
If you are taking care of someone who is sick or you are cleaning and disinfecting your home, you should wear gloves. You can either wear reusable or disposable gloves for this task. Of course, if you choose to wear reusable gloves you need to remember to clean them on a regular basis.
While you clean your home, you should open the windows to let in fresh air or keep the air circulating by turning on a fan. Once you are done, you should wash your hands. If you are cleaning the area around someone who is sick, you should wear disposable gloves. When you are finished with them, throw them out in the trash.
Some people wear gloves when going out on errands. However, this won’t necessarily protect them from contracting COVID-19. In fact, they can lead to cross-contamination if they aren’t worn correctly. Therefore, you don’t need to feel obligated to wear them when going grocery shopping or making a deposit at the bank.
4. Boxes of tissues for anyone struggling with allergies or a cold
It never hurts to have an extra box or two of tissues with you. Keeping them around the house as well as on your person whenever you’re out in public can help you stay clean and sanitized. If you feel a cough or sneeze coming up, you can help cover it with a tissue. Once you are finished with your tissue, make sure you quickly discard it into a trashcan to help prevent the spread of germs. You should also wash or sanitize your hands after you throw away the tissue.
5. Disinfectant wipes for cleaning
Cleaning and disinfecting your home is crucial for keeping it free of germs. While cleaning removes germs and dirt from the surface of your house, disinfecting will kill the actual germs. That’s why you need to use a two-step approach when it comes to cleaning your home. Simply start by cleaning up the dirty surfaces of your house before wiping them down with a disinfectant.
Some people have tried to make their own cleaning solutions with vodka or vinegar. However, there is no scientific evidence proving that these ingredients actually work. If you aren’t completely confident or knowledgeable about creating your own cleaning solutions, you can just purchase a regular disinfecting wipe or spray to clean your house with.
PPE Kit Contents You Will Find in a Healthcare Worker’s Kit
These items are meant for healthcare workers taking care of COVID-19 patients
When it comes to professional PPE like an isolation gown or NIOSH-approved N95 filtering facepiece respirator, this equipment should be reserved for healthcare professionals. In fact, the CDC advises the general public against wearing this type of equipment.
Check out these essential PPE for healthcare workers:
- Face shield or goggles: equipment designed to protect a person’s eyes from respiratory droplets from another person that must be worn along with a mask or respirator
- Non-sterile gloves: healthcare workers are advised against reusing gloves, which is why having a steady supply of them is crucial
- Isolation gown: full length gown that medical personnel wear when taking care of COVID patients
- N95 or higher respirators: special respirator designed to fit the face closely and provide efficient filtration of airborne particles that cannot be shared or reused
Regular consumers do not need to wear this PPE. Instead, it should remain reserved for healthcare workers and anyone else working around COVID-19 patients.
When donning this equipment, healthcare workers must apply hand sanitizer, put on their isolation gown, place their respirator or face mask on, put on their face shield, and finally don their gloves before entering a patient’s room.
Other Items That You Should Avoid
Some companies have been offering “PPE” that is actually useless
Due to the rising need for masks and other PPE for protecting people against the coronavirus, a number of scams and sketchy products have popped up online. For instance, a group of men in California were found guilty of trying to sell masks that they didn’t have, scamming millions of dollars from innocent people.
Other manufacturers have attempted to peddle “special” COVID-19 masks. When searching for a proper mask, make sure you avoid one that sounds gimmicky or attempts to promise unrealistic features.
You should also avoid using face wraps or scarves as a mask. Because they do not have the ear loops that regular masks have, they cannot wrap as tightly around your face. This can make the cloth covering much less effective as a result.
Tips for Making the Most Out of Your PPE
Improper use of your PPE can make it less effective against the coronavirus
When going out in public, make sure you follow these best practices for safety:
- Avoid touching your face even when wearing a mask
- Wear a mask featuring a dual-layer for extra protection
- If you wear glasses, purchase a mask with an adjustable nose bridge to conform it closely to your face to prevent them from fogging up
- Carry a portable bottle of hand sanitizer whenever you go out
Do you have all of the right equipment for protecting you against the coronavirus? If not, it’s time to gather the right PPE to keep you and your loved ones safe.