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Doctors’ Leaders Call For Revised PPE Guidance In The Wake Of New Variants

With a new, more contagious variant of Covid identified in the UK, medical leaders have urged Public Health England to revise and strengthen its personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations.

In the light of growing evidence of aerosol transmission and variants that spread at a much faster pace, PPE should take a precautionary approach to ensure that health staffs are protected.

Who should wear PPE?

Anyone working close i.e. within 2m (6ft) of a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patient should wear PPE comprising of gloves, mask, apron, and eye protection.

Health professionals who are involved in activities generating airborne droplets should use face-shielding visors, filtering respirators and disposable gowns along with other protective equipment.

Other staffs should wear PPE appropriate to their likely risk of exposure.

Is it safe to reuse PPE items?

PPE worn during high-risk situations should be of single-use, unless and until it can be decontaminated. Some items of the kit can be used for a complete session like a ward round whereas some items can only be used once per patient.

Ideally, gloves and surgical masks, aprons should be disposed of after a single session. When there are extreme shortages of PPE kit, NHS guidelines say staff can reuse some kit where it is safe to do so. Health and Safety Executives also feel that some amount of compromise is needed in case of acute shortages.

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