primary purpose of personal protective equipment
While you can keep your own home clean and sanitized, going out to stores or public spaces increases the risk of contagion. Wearing a face mask and disposable gloves when going outside helps protect yourself and others from infection.
Questions About Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is designed to create a non-disease specific barrier to penetration of substances, solid, liquid, or airborne particles. In general, neither FDA nor the manufacturer can provide assurances that PPE will protect you against a specific disease. The data that the FDA uses for the evaluation and clearance of PPE rarely includes performance evaluation or testing against particular viruses, such as Ebola or flu. If performance data has met FDA requirements and demonstrate protection against a specific disease, the product labeling will state the claim for protection against a particular virus or bacteria.
In some circumstances, a health care provider may recommend that caregivers use PPE when caring for a sick person at home. It is essential to know that the use of PPE alone will not fully protect you from acquiring an infection or passing an infection to another person. Other infection control practices, such as hand-washing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, isolation of patients, and using correctly covering cough and sneezes, are also necessary steps to minimize your risk of infection.
Additionally, please be aware of the proper removal and disposal procedures. Even if PPE successfully protects you while it is worn, improper removal and disposal of contaminated PPEs can expose the wearer and other people to infection.
In general, most PPE is designed to be used only one time and by one person before disposal. There are a few exceptions; for example, some types of elastomeric respirator masks and protective eyewear such as goggles may be reused if the user follows decontamination methods in the product labeling.
If PPE is exposed to infectious materials during use (e.g., body fluids from an infected person), the PPE is considered contaminated, and the wearer should remove it promptly, using proper removal and disposal procedures. Please be aware that even if a PPE successfully protects you while it is being worn, improper removal and disposal of contaminated PPEs can expose the wearer and other people to infectious agents.
No. Disposable PPE is designed to be used only one time, and by one person; it cannot be washed. Washing PPE changes its protective or barrier capabilities, and it may no longer be effective.
In general, most PPE cleared by the FDA is intended to be used only one time and by one person. Sharing PPE is not advised. The protective capabilities of single-use PPE cannot be assured when it is reused by the same person or used by more than one person. Sharing PPE that is intended for single-use may expose another person to infectious materials. PPE should be removed promptly after use and disposed of properly.
PPE is designed to be used with other infection control practices such as hand-washing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and covering coughs and sneezes to minimize the spread of infection from one person to another.