Personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection among healthcare workers – what is the evidence?

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Int J Clin Pract. 2020 Jul 31:e13617. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13617. Online ahead of print.


The worldwide outbreak of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has already put healthcare workers (HCWs) at a high risk of infection. The question of how to give HCWs the best protection against infection is a priority. Our literature review has indicated that the degree of protection required in looking after people with COVID-19 infection, is dependent on the particular environment to which the HCW is exposed. Covering more of the body could provide better protection for HCWs. Of importance, it is not just the provision of PPE but the skills in donning and doffing of PPE that are important, this being a key time for potential transmission of pathogen to the HCW and in due time from them to others. In relation to face masks, the evidence indicates that a higher-level specification of face masks (N95) seems to be essential to protect HCWs from Coronavirus infection. Evidence specifically around PPE and protection from the COVID-19 virus is minimal and at the level of anecdotal reports only.

PMID:32734641 | DOI:10.1111/ijcp.13617