Personal Protective Clothing & Equipment Crucial for Coronavirus
February 3, 2020
By: Aric Asplund, President, International Enviroguard
A deadly Coronavirus outbreak in Central China has already taken more than 40 lives and infected upwards of 1,300 people. Although American diplomats have been evacuated from the region with medical professionals to monitor their health, cases have already been reported in the United States.
In an effort to contain the epidemic, the Chinese government has quarantined more than 30 million residents and suspended travel. The outbreak escalated relatively quickly from the city of Wuhan to spread to other areas, including Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, France, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, Macao, and Nepal, among others. Chinese officials placed travel restrictions in more than 15 neighboring cities and canceled the popular Lunar New Year’s celebration to combat the pathogen.
But given the fact the Coronavirus has yet to be contained, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have weighed the possibility of calling the outbreak a global emergency. Those working in the healthcare professions and sectors that come in contact with potentially infected parties are urged to take preventative measures to avoid contracting the sometimes fatal virus.
What is the Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus was first identified in 1960 and was associated with symptoms consistent with the common cold, such as coughing and sneezing. The virus got its name from having a crown shape and was not initially considered a significant health risk. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people experience some form of Coronavirus at least once, primarily as children.
This seemingly ordinary virus presents as an upper respiratory infection of the nose, throat, and sinuses, but has certain strains that can be inherently dangerous. A class of Coronavirus that sprung up on Saudi Arabia and spread to other Africa, Asia, Europe, and the U.S., was responsible for more than 850 deaths from what is commonly known as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) since 2012. Another strain of Coronavirus is associated with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), that has caused nearly 800 death since 2003.
It’s essential to understand that “Coronavirus” tends to be a catch-all term in much the same way people talk about “the flu” or common cold. These are viruses that mutate into strains that range from nominal health impediments to deadly. The recent outbreak in China is being called a “Novel Coronavirus” by the WHO, or 2019-nCoV in technical terms.
Coronavirus Symptoms & Health Risks
Perhaps the most problematic aspect of Coronavirus is that it presents much like a common cold in the early stages. This makes it significantly dangerous for healthcare workers and those working in close proximity to travelers and other potentially infect parties. Given the heightened risk of contracting the new strain of Coronavirus, increased health safety measures should be taken when coming in contact with people showing these symptoms, according to the CDC.
- Runny nose
- Sore Throat
- General Feeling of Being Unwell
It’s not uncommon for advanced cases to attack a person’s lower-respiratory functions, causing symptoms consistent with pneumonia and bronchitis. People with cardiopulmonary disease, weak immune systems, children, and seniors may be particularly at risk. Healthcare professionals, first responders, and those who work with the general public are advised to be conscious of the fact that the recent Coronavirus is indistinguishable from colds and cases of flu to the naked eye.
CDC Urges Enhanced Health & Safety Procedures to Combat Coronavirus
The CDC released guidance on how to prevent the further spread of the Novel Coronavirus and avoid infection. One of the primary reasons that this contagion has successfully spread throughout Asia and to other continents is transmission. This strain has the ability to move from animal-to-animal, human-to-human, and animal-to-human. It has been identified in a variety of cats in China. That being said, the CDC urges the following preventative measures if you are showing flu-like symptoms.
- Stay at Home and Avoid Contact with Others
- Impose a Self-Quarantine While Awaiting Testing Results
- Contact Health Centers & Give Advanced Notice Before Attending Visits
- Wash Hands Diligently
- Avoid Touching Your Nose or Mouth
- Monitor Your Symptoms Closely
- Avoid Sharing Household Items
- Cover Up When Coughing or Sneezing
- Wear a Protective Face Mask
The CDC also strongly suggests that caregivers take added precautions. Older adults and those with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable to severe illness. If someone has been diagnosed with Novel Coronavirus or shows possible symptoms, the CDC recommends the following.
- Caregivers Should Always Wear Disposable Face Masks
- Caregivers Should Always Wear Disposable Protective Clothing
- Caregivers are Advised to Wash Before and After Entering a Patient’s Room
- Caregivers are Advised to Utilize an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer after Washing
- Clean All High-Touch Items with an Appropriate Germ-Killing Product
- Utilize Fresh Air Via Windows Whenever Possible
- Isolate Laundry Processes
- Family Members Should Minimize Contact and Use Face Masks and other Protective Clothing
- Place disposable clothing items in a designated hazard container
All standard procedures and protocols are urged for healthcare professionals and those workers who may come in contact with sick people. The proper use of personal protective clothing and equipment remains a primary deterrent to contracting Novel Coronavirus and preventing its global spread.
Personal Protective Clothing & Equipment for Coronavirus
The recent strain of Coronavirus has reached critical levels in large part because it has the ability to spread with relative ease. It can become airborne when people cough and sneeze. It can also be transmitted from contact with inanimate objects, person-to-person touch, as well as from animals. This makes the Novel Coronavirus a potent contagion that requires diligent use of personal protective clothing and equipment. The CDC recommends the following items be used and protocols followed with regards to disposable items.
- Disposable Gloves: Non-sterile disposable gloves are to be put on before entering a patient’s room. They are to be discarded and changed if contaminated or damaged. Healthcare workers should remove and properly dispose of gloves when exiting. Healthcare workers are expected to practice hand sanitization protocols before and after glove use.
- Disposable Gowns: Protective gowns should be worn before entering a patient’s room and discarded appropriately immediately afterward.
- Respiratory Protection: Respirators should be worn as standard practice when engaging with Coronavirus patients. Face masks and other products should be discarded when exiting a patient’s room.
- Eye Protection: Because Novel Coronavirus has the ability to go airborne, eye protection is advisable.
It’s imperative that supervisors and decision-makers in the healthcare sector and others that may come in contact with infected people are fully stocked with disposable protective clothing and equipment. The Novel Coronavirus has demonstrated an ability to jump from neighbor-to-neighbor in China and traverse continents in a matter of months. Vigilance and the best protective clothing and equipment have never been more critical.
International Enviroguard is a leading manufacturer of disposable protective clothing and surface protection. International Enviroguard has been designing and manufacturing disposable protective clothing for nearly three decades.