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