Understanding PPE Supplies During COVID-19

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    Since COVID-19 began, you have probably heard the term “personal protective equipment” or “PPE” more times than you can count, especially in regards to health care workers not always being able to find the PPE that they require, like gloves, medical masks, respirators, gowns, boots, eye protection, and aprons.

    As you do your best to stay healthy and safe during the global pandemic, you also have your own types of PPE. While you probably don’t wear a respirator or a gown when going to the grocery store, you are careful to wear a mask and use plenty of hand sanitizer afterward. 

    Read on to further understand the different types of PPE as they relate to COVID-19 including which ones are great to have on hand and which products you can probably skip.

    N95 vs KN95 Masks

    You may have heard on the news that N95 masks should be reserved for people working in health care. While this is still good advice, a similar option, the KN95 face mask, is one that is readily available and appropriate for the general public. This type of mask features five layers of protection and has a filtration efficiency of around 95 percent. The KN95 variety also comes in a number of colors so you can purchase different kinds to match your outfit; for instance, are very versatile and go well with virtually anything you want to wear.

    Hand Sanitizer is Not Created Equally

    Another type of PPE that you probably have in your supply cabinet or car right now is hand sanitizer. When you don’t have ready access to warm water and soap, a good squirt of hand sanitizer can help kill germs. However, as NBC notes, created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

    When shopping for hand sanitizer, instead of grabbing the cheapest one or one that has a nice scent, take a few minutes to read the labels to be sure you are buying one that contains at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Also, check that your hand sanitizer does not contain methanol, which has been found to cause skin irritation and a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

    What About Face Shields?

    Wearing a cloth face mask can make your skin feel warm and cause your glasses to fog up. When this happens, you may be tempted to toss the masks in lieu of a face shield and maybe some snazzy-looking goggles. But as the CDC notes, shields and goggles for masks. Face shields are not as good at protecting people around you from your respiratory droplets, and since they don’t touch your face, germs can get under them and onto your face pretty easily. For people who are hearing impaired or who are truly uncomfortable wearing a mask, find face shields that wrap around the sides of your face and extend down below the chin.

    Keep Plenty of PPE on Hand

    Even if you don’t require the type of PPE that those on the front lines in hospitals and other medical facilities require, you still need plenty of your own PPE supplies. From KN95 masks and the correct types of hand sanitizer to avoiding face shields and goggles, you can rest assured you have the correct type of PPE for your own health and safety.