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Factors Affecting the Selection of PPE

Jun. 30, 2021

By 2030, approximately 80 million people will be working in healthcare globally. Healthcare workers are at constant risk of exposure to pathogens and infection when treating patients with infectious diseases.


The CDC notes that such pathogens can be transmitted to humans through three primary routes: direct or indirect contact with an infected person (the most common), airborne transmission, and respiratory droplet transmission through coughing, sneezing, or talking. HCW's PPE can prevent or reduce such exposure and droplet exposure by creating a barrier between the human body and the pathogen. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines PPE as "specialized clothing or equipment worn by employees to protect against infectious materials.


OSHA has promulgated regulations requiring the use of PPE in healthcare settings to protect healthcare workers from any potentially infectious diseases. Under the regulations, employers must provide employees with the correct size PPE. in addition, for reusable PPE, employers must arrange for proper product cleaning, maintenance, and storage. In addition, employers must ensure that any "end-of-life" PPE is properly disposed of.

Protective Eyewear

 Protective Eyewear

Factors Affecting PPE Selection

The most common types of PPE used in healthcare environments are gloves, gowns or aprons, eye masks or respirators, goggles and face masks. To select a PPE, three key points need to be considered: the type and amount of bodily fluids to which the wearer may be exposed and how these fluids are transported, the durability and suitability of the PPE, and the fit of the PPE for the individual user. Gloves are the most commonly used PPE for hand protection and are made of natural and synthetic rubber for both sterile and non-sterile applications and must be comfortable, fit well and not easily torn or damaged.


Gowns are also widely used with PPE to protect skin and other clothing and should completely cover the torso, fit comfortably against the body, and have long sleeves that fit snugly around the wrists. Use a mask or a combination of PPE types such as respirators, goggles and face shields to protect all or part of the face (nose, mouth and eyes).

A type of protective eyewear that doctors use for homework, also known as an eye mask. Can prevent a few potions or blood to wait to splash face, have protective effect to the eye consequently, this kind of glasses and mask, operation cap cooperate to use commonly, have comprehensive protective effect to the head of the doctor.


The mask should completely cover the nose and mouth and prevent fluid penetration, while the goggles should fit softly over and around the eyes or personal prescription lenses. In some cases, face masks are used in place of face shields or goggles for skin protection in addition to mouth, nose, and eye protection. The mask should cover the forehead, extend under the chin, and wrap around the sides of the face. 

HCW from dangerous or infectious aerosols, such as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, by using a respirator to filter the air before inhalation. The most widely used medical respirators are the N95, N99, or N100 particulate respirators, which have submicron filters capable of excluding particles less than 5 microns in diameter . However, when performing high-risk aerosol-generating procedures such as bronchoscopy, a higher level of respiratory protection, such as that provided by a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), is required.