Personal protective equipment (PPE) is special equipment you wear to create a barrier between you and germs.
PPE helps prevent the spread of germs in the hospital. This helps protect patients and health care workers from infections.
All hospital staff, patients, and visitors should use PPE when working with blood or other body fluids.
Wearing gloves protects your hands from germs and helps reduce the spread of germs.
Masks cover your mouth nose. Some masks have a see-through plastic part that covers your eyes.
Eye protection includes face shields and goggles. These protect the mucous membranes in your eyes from blood and other body fluids.
Clothing includes gowns, aprons, head covering, and shoe covers.
You may need special PPE when handling some cancer drugs. This equipment is called cytotoxic PPE.
You may need to use different PPE for different patients. Your workplace will have written instructions about when to wear PPE and what type of PPE to use. You will need PPE when you care for patients who are in isolation as well as other patients.
Ask your supervisor how you can learn more about protective equipment.
You will need to safely remove and dispose of PPE. This will help protect others from being exposed to any germs.
Before leaving your work area, remove all PPE and put it in the right place. This may include:
Infection control. In: Mills JE, ed. Nursing Procedures. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004:chap 2.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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