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    5 considerations for personal protective equipment

    Wearing personal protective equipment is crucial, but if you’re not using it correctly, you could be doing more harm than good.

     

    Wearing PPE

    When to wear PPE

    The best PPE is totally useless if it’s not worn by practitioners.

    “One of the hot buttons -- and when I say, ‘hot’, I do mean, ‘hot’ -- is that many practitioners, during the summer, during the warmer months, don’t necessarily want to wear the PPE that is meant to cover exposed skin, cover mucous membranes, cover clothes,” Moore says. “PPE should cover you up to the neck and down to the wrist. Yes, it is comfortable and convenient to wear your scrubs around the office, but you’re not protecting yourself. You’re not covering that tissue that should be covered, so you need to turn the AC up. You need to make it cooler so people can wear their protective clothing appropriately.”

    The areas of the office in which one wears PPE also matters.

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    “You shouldn’t be wearing your PPE, your lab coat, into the waiting room,” Moore says. “It shouldn’t be at the desk area. Whatever splash or splatter you have on the surface, if you walk to the front desk and you pick up your charts and hold them against your body, you’re contaminating those charts. You’re contaminating that paperwork. Whatever you have on your lab coat, you don’t want to introduce that into the reception area. The office staff may not be as cognizant about infection control and don’t realize if you’ve leaned against the counter, and then they touch that surface and rub their eyes or touch the phone.”

    “The wearing of PPE is not negotiable,” Dr. Fluent says. “If you’ve got a hot, sunny day and you don’t want to wear long sleeves, you need to wear them anyway. Or if your mask seems to be steaming up your protective eyewear, you have to find a way around that. You have to wear it anyway.”

    PPE should not be a hurdle for the clinician. It should be provided, but how it is worn is up to the person wearing it.

    “It’s up to your employer to provide PPE, but it is up to you to wear it,” Dr. Fluent says.

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    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...

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