Medical Uniforms Considerations for COVID19

The COVID 19 pandemic has been going on for more than a year and has affected every corner of the world. Starting in Wuhan, China, it has brought the world to a standstill and into continuous lockdowns.

More than anything it has brought uncertainty to the lives of the frontline workers aka doctors and nurses. And as a result to that, the medical uniforms have also changed drastically to accommodate the requirements of the pandemic.

Medical uniform specifications for COVID 19

The current medical buzzword is Personal Protective Equipment (or PPE) which includes face masks, gloves, goggles, respirators, face shields, gowns, and air-purifying respirators worn over the regular uniform of scrubs. 

To prevent the spread of infection and also to protect themselves, health care workers are suggested to wear them as and when needed. 

PPE creates a barrier between the medical professional and the virus, thereby preventing the doctor/nurse from coming into contact with the infectious pathogen. 

Here are a few types of PPE clothing worn by a medical professional and the reason for incorporating them:

  • Gloves: Protect your hands and prevents it from coming into contact with contagions. 
  • Eye Protection: Face shields and goggles both come under eye protection. They protect your eyes and prevent them from coming into contact with bodily fluids that may contain the virus. 
  • Masks: Cover your mouth and nose. They sit tight and flush with your skin forming a tight seal. It reduces the risk the inhalation of viruses like the COVID 19. 
  • Clothing: Includes gowns, head covering, aprons, and shoe covers. Originally used in surgeries, these are also used by medical personnel working in the COVID wards or emergency rooms.

 

Doctors wearing PPE suits

Do normal uniforms provide adequate protection against COVID-19?

The protection offered by normal uniforms aka scrubs is not enough to protect against COVID-19. 

While you’d be wearing the mask and gloves, your eyes and hands will definitely be exposed.

 Any amount of exposure is not safe while near or in direct contact with a COVID patient. 

However, you may want to adopt antibacterial scrubs which when used in combination with the PPE can provide another layer of protection. 

Using PPE

When worn correctly, a PPE is highly efficient against the transmission of pathogens including the Sars-Cov2 virus. 

Here’s how you don and take off the PPE. Remember you wear these over your scrubs. 

How to Wear a PPE

  • Sanitize your hands with a hand sanitiser. 
  • Wear your isolation gown. Ensure that you tie all the ties on the gown. 
  • Put on the respirator or a mask in the absence of a respirator. It should cover both your nose and your mouth and should sit flush with your skin. 
  • Wear your goggles and face shield followed by your gloves. 

How to Remove a PPE

  • Remove your gloves with minimal to no contact with your skin. 
  • Remove your gown in the same way. Take it down and away from your body. 
  • Sanitize your hands. 
  • Take off the goggles and the face shield. Ensure that you do not touch the front of the face shield.
  • Remove and discard the mask or the respirator. Do not touch the front in both these cases.
  • Sanitize your hands or wash them as per the instructions from the hospital. 

Conclusion

Regular medical uniforms are of no help for contagious viruses such as the Sars-Cov2 virus. 

While antibacterial uniforms can help to an extent, it is still not enough to ensure protection.

PPE is the best way to ensure the highest level of protection, especially if you come in contact with patients with COVID-19. 

Your medical uniforms should be laundered separately and should not mix with other clothes if you do not have a laundering facility at your hospital. 

They should be washed at the maximum tolerated temperature and then tumble dried.