Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Link to article at PubMed

Park SH. Infect Chemother 2020 - Review.


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has posed a challenge for healthcare systems, and healthcare workers (HCWs) are at high risk of exposure. Protecting HCWs is of paramount importance to maintain continuous patient care and keep healthcare systems functioning. Used alongside administrative and engineering control measures, personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense and the core component of protection. Current data suggest that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets and close contact. Airborne transmission may occur during aerosol-generating procedures. However, the modes of transmission still remain uncertain, especially regarding the possibility of airborne transmission when aerosol-generating procedures are not performed. Thus, there are some inconsistencies in the respiratory protective equipment recommended by international and national organizations. In Korea, there have been several modifications to PPE recommendations offering options in choosing PPE for respiratory and body protection, which confuses HCWs; they are often unsure what to wear and when to wear it. The choice of PPE is based on the risk of exposure and possible modes of transmission. The level of protection provided by PPE differs based on standards and test methods. Thus, understanding them is the key in selecting the proper PPE. This article reviews evidence on the mode of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, compares the current PPE recommendations of the World Health Organization with those in Korea, and discusses standard requirements and the proper selection of PPE.

PMID:32618146 | DOI:10.3947/ic.2020.52.2.165

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