Thursday, October 22, 2020
While many industries utilized personal protective gear (PPE) before the Covid-19 pandemic, it has sharply risen in popularity and necessity in recent months. PPE is now a regular part of a person’s daily life. Some PPE can be washed, disinfected, and reused, but for the most part, you cannot reuse PPE. Discover what PPE you should never reuse.
While some face masks are designed for reuse such as cloth masks, you must keep certain rules in mind. Once a cloth mask is worn, you must wash it thoroughly before wearing it again. Most masks used today are disposable face masks. These are called disposable for a reason—you must throw them away after each use. Even if you only wore it for a quick run to the store or the walk from the door to the table at a restaurant, you still need to dispose of it after use. Masks can become contaminated even after one quick use, especially when removed improperly or laid down on a surface or in a bag.
You must never reuse protective gloves. People use gloves to prevent germs and other substances from contacting their hands. Hands often carry germs to more vulnerable areas of a person’s body such as their mouth, nose, and eyes. Many do not know how to properly use PPE gloves. Once you touch something with the gloves, they become contaminated. Taking off gloves and then putting them back on to touch something contributes to contamination in the same way as uncovered hands.
Most PPE cannot and should not ever be reused. Unless there is a clause on the packaging stating that the item can be reused, and there are detailed instructions for how to safely reuse it, assume you must dispose of it after use. Most PPE is marked “disposable” or “one-time use.” Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and when in doubt, dispose of your PPE after one use.
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