A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

PPE need during COVID-19: Here’s a primer

Editor’s note: This article was published on April 10, 2020. COVID-19 information and recommendations are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or view our most recent COVID-19 blog posts.

You might be hearing about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and its importance to health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the term PPE may be familiar to providers, health care staff are using and reusing PPE in a new way, and that usage changes rapidly from day to day.

What is PPE?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed during the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure providers stay protected and can continue to care for patients.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care personnel use PPE every day to protect themselves, patients and others when providing care. PPE includes eye protection, masks (including facemasks, N95 respirators or powered air-purifying respirators), gloves and isolation gowns.

These items protect health care providers from potentially infectious patients and materials, toxic medications and potentially dangerous substances.

“Health care workers need to protect themselves so they can stay on the frontline, providing care to our sick patients,” said Michelle Kaiser, infection preventionist at Marshfield Clinic Health System.

How you can help

Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation is collecting donations of sewn face masks to alleviate the national shortage during the COVID-19 outbreak. According to CDC, health care providers don’t consider homemade masks PPE, but these masks can be used for ill patients.

If you or someone you know is able, consider sewing face masks for patients at the Health System. Instructions can be found here. These sewn masks will help alleviate the shortage and will be distributed to patients to help provide a protective barrier, so that medical-grade masks and respirators may be conserved for our health care providers and staff.

For more information and updates on COVID-19, visit Marshfield Clinic Health System’s webpage.

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