Personal protective equipment or PPE is the equipment that nursing assistants use to avoid exposure to microorganisms and thereby prevent infection. This equipment includes:
Gloves: Gloves protect the hands by providing a barrier against fluids and blood when caring for patients.
Masks: Pathogens can spread through the respiratory system – the nose and mouth. Respiratory masks have a tight seal that covers the mouth and nose. These are especially useful to protect the nasal and oral mucous membranes against airborne organisms such as the tuberculosis bacillus.
Goggles: Face shields such as goggles can protect fluids from entering the eyes when there is splashing of fluids. Goggles protect the germs from entering the mucous membranes.
Gowns and Aprons: Gowns and aprons protect the inner clothing from getting contaminated. They are usually used during a surgery to protect the nursing assistant from infectious secretions such as wound drainage or discharges from the body.
Head and Shoe Covering: Headcovers protect the nursing assistants from sprays and airborne organisms. Similarly, shoe covers provide protection from airborne organisms and are used as a part of full barrier protection.
There are special procedures for donning PPE and removing the equipment after use. The gown, gloves and other equipment should be worn in such a way that it is not contaminated. After use, the equipment should be disposed of in proper waste containers marked for cytotoxic PPE.