Author: Kathy Beard, Manager of Surgical Products & Sales Education
How do we focus on Infection Control and PPE without losing the personal element?
We now realize that this Covid-19 pandemic is a way of life, at least for a while. Those workers who are public-facing must decide on how best to protect themselves. Universal precautions reinforce safety and infection control through hand and respiratory hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Masks are now a way of life for us all, and we need to pay attention to what others are doing. We should assume most masks are contaminated. Some people we interact with are not wearing a mask or are wearing an inadequate mouth/nose covering. We need infection protection for US. Now that teachers have joined the ranks of the frontline workers, face shields are a consideration for many reasons. They offer additional protection when distancing isn’t an option or a practice. For those healthcare workers who have been living this for the past 5 months, it’s time to seek out a better solution for infection protection.
We surveyed over 100 Nurses and Healthcare Workers across the country.
Here is what we found to be of utmost importance:
- Protection: a face shield should take account of complete coverage of face from top to bottom and side to side
- Comfort: a face shield should be wearable while allowing airflow and reducing fogging
- Availability without inflated pricing: a face shield should preferably be made in the U.S. at a fair price
- Reusability: a face shield should have the ability to be disinfected and reused without smearing
- Visibility: a face shield should allow for visibility since being seen and heard is important at this difficult time; communication, both verbal and nonverbal, can be an option while wearing a face shield.
Another reason to consider adding face shields face shields to your personal protective equipment… Share your smile!
Add a picture of your full smiling face for the benefit of your patients, students, and clients. Some Cedars Sinai doctors and nurses have adopted this practice since all the protective gear and hazmat suits can be quite intimidating for their patients.
“Most important, face shields appear to significantly reduce the amount of inhalation exposure to influenza virus, another droplet-spread respiratory virus. In a simulation study, face shields were shown to reduce immediate viral exposure by 96% when worn by a simulated health care worker within 18 inches of a cough.10 Even after 30 minutes, the protective effect exceeded 80% and face shields blocked 68% of small particle aerosols,10 which are not thought to be a dominant mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. When the study was repeated at the currently recommended physical distancing distance of 6 feet, face shields reduced inhaled virus by 92%,10 similar to distancing alone, which reinforces the importance of physical distancing in preventing viral respiratory infections.” Read the full article.
We must continue in this quest to protect ourselves and those with whom we interact along the way. Educate and continue the practice of proper handwashing, sanitizing, proper face mask-wearing, and social distancing.
The experts suggest adding face shields and eye protection as a standard of infection control. Ask yourself if you have the protection you need, and add more protection to your PPE arsenal.