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Personal protective equipment is special equipment you wear to create a barrier between you and germs. This barrier reduces the chance of touching, being exposed to, and spreading germs.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) helps prevent the spread of germs in the hospital. This can protect people and health care workers from infections.
All hospital staff, patients, and visitors should use PPE when there will be contact with blood or other bodily fluids.
Wearing gloves protects your hands from germs and helps reduce the spread of germs.
Masks cover your mouth and nose.
Eye protection includes face shields and goggles. These protect the mucous membranes in your eyes from blood and other bodily fluids. If these fluids make contact with the eyes, germs in the fluid can enter the body through the mucous membranes.
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 types of PPE for different people. Your workplace has written instructions about when to wear PPE and what type to use. You need PPE when you care for people who are in isolation as well as other patients.
Ask your supervisor how you can learn more about protective equipment.
Remove and dispose of PPE safely to protect others from being exposed to germs. Before leaving your work area, remove all PPE and put it in the right place. This may include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Personal protective equipment. www.cdc.gov/niosh/ppe. Updated January 31, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2019.
Palmore TN. Infection prevention and control in the health care setting. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 298.