What is PPE?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), PPE works as a barrier between an individual’s skin, mouth, nose, or eyes and viral and bacterial infections. In order to be used in a medical setting, most PPE—medical gloves, gowns, and N95 respirators—is regulated by the government agency and must meet their regulations.
“When used properly and with other infection control practices such as hand-washing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and covering coughs and sneezes, [PPE] minimizes the spread of infection from one person to another,” the FDA explains on its website.
PPE also varies situationally, per the World Health Organization (WHO). For example, the sufficient gear needed to treat patients with the flu varies from that which is crucial when dealing with those infected with Ebola. In the context of COVID-19—which is spread primarily between people through close contact and droplets, not by airborne transmission—PPE includes the following, but can vary between medical professionals, hospital cleaners, and patient visitors: