December 20, 2021 admin
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
During COVID-19 pandemic, PPE or personal protective equipment has become a household term as common people were made aware of its importance in reducing community spread, and protecting front line health care workers. PPE is defined as an “Clothing that is specifically designed and made to protect the whole body or a part of the body from a potential threat or to protect the external environment from contamination by the wearer”.(1) Such protective apparels are used by health care workers to inhibit the transfer of blood, secretions, excretions and other body fluids as well as other potentially infectious materials and to preserve the integrity of the sterile field. Such garments are the health care worker’s main line of defense and protect them from potentially deadly infectious diseases and pathogens during patient care. A severe shortage in the supply of necessary PPE during the pandemic became a huge cause of concern for health care sector as health care providers feared being infected by the patients they cared for and, in turn, passing the virus on to people outside healthcare setting including their own families.
In epidemics of highly infectious diseases, likes coronavirus (COVID-19), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), or HCWs face much higher risk of infections than the general population, because of their contact with patients’ contaminated body fluids. Personal protective equipment or PPE can reduce this risk as it covers exposed body parts. A key aspect of health care workers’ PPE is medical gowns, which includes both surgical gowns and isolation gowns. In fact, medical gowns are the second-most commonly used PPE item, first being gloves, in health care settings. (2) United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has defined Surgical gowns as “Devices worn by operating room workers during surgical procedures to protect both the surgical patient and the operating room employees from the transmission of pathogens, body fluids, and other contaminants”. Isolation gowns currently offer resistance to blood, secretions and other bodily fluids as the material used is impermeable. (3)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also known as CDC has categorized three possible routes of contact between healthcare professionals and patients in healthcare settings and pathogens: (i) direct or indirect contact, (ii) respiratory droplets, and (iii) airborne droplets (4). Out of these three contact transmission is generally considered as the most common cause. Direct contact is when pathogens are transferred directly from one person to another. Droplet transmission takes place via respiratory droplets generated during coughing, sneezing and even talking. By using protective clothing like surgical gown or isolation gowns, a barrier can be created to eliminate or significantly reduce contact and droplet exposure, and therefore prevent the transfer of germs between patients and HCWs and vice versa.
Fibers are the smallest unit of gown fabrics, which is why the properties and capabilities of gowns depend on the physical and chemical properties of fibers. Physically, the length and the surface of the fiber are extremely important for the barrier properties of the fabric. Fabrics that are made from very fine and thin fibers, such as microfibers, are considered ideal to be used for manufacturing barrier materials that provide higher protection. Chemically, the absorbing capacity of the fiber is crucial for the liquid transmission properties of PPE gowns. When highly absorbent fibers are used, the fabric ends up absorbing the fluids and as a result, viruses and bacteria can be trapped within the fiber structure. If low absorbent fibers, also known as hygroscopic fibers are used in gown making, the liquid will wick along the surface of the fiber, which will enhance the capillary movement of liquid that contains pathogens. Natural fibers (e.g., cotton, silk, wool, etc.) tend to have be highly absorbent compared to synthetic polymer based fibers, such as polypropylene and polyester.
For certain medical procedures, the barrier capability provided by one ply material is not adequate; in such cases, additional protection is provided in the form of additional layers of material, reinforcements or coating in order to obtain hybrid or composite materials. In addition, attributes of a product can be improved to impart absorbency, additional strength, slip resistance along with other desirable characteristics (2).
Research has identified that the fabric properties, such as pore size, fabric thickness, repellency, and wicking have an impact on its effectiveness as a fluid and infection barrier.
Types of Disposable Garments:
Surgical gowns are designed with the purpose of protecting patients and healthcare workers when surgical procedures are being conducted. The primary purpose of a surgical gown is to prevent bacteria and other infectious microorganisms, or bodily fluids such as blood, secretions, excretions etc. from transferring between individuals. They must protect certain critical zones of a human body which includes including the arms, wrists, shoulders and knees.
surgical gowns are critical as they are the outermost item of clothing used during surgery and the only line of defense for those involved in surgery. surgical gowns must be of high quality material and designed to minimize the risk of infection. They are usually lightweight for maximum comfort. High-performance Pro-Fab surgical gowns by Imaec Medntek are designed to protect both healthcare personnel and patients from the transfer of microorganisms.
Isolation gowns are used mainly for medium to high risk of contamination. They are used when procedures involve large critical zones. In case of isolation gowns, seams must provide the same level of liquid protection as the rest of the garment. Isolation gowns are made from lightweight and breathable material, which makes them ideal for surgeons to wear even during lengthy procedures. These gowns are made using material which is resistant to soaking. In hospitals settings, isolation garments have been associated to lower infection rates. Imaec Medntek’s Pro-Fab series of Isolation gowns protect healthcare workers and patients from contamination in healthcare environments.
In certain situations, doctors or other healthcare workers must take extreme precautions in order to prevent disease transmission. Diseases like Hepatitis, HIV, and Ebola are capable of transmitting through biological fluids that surgeons often come in contact with during a procedure.
A coverall suits or coverall gown gives its users more comprehensive coverage, preventing their bodies from coming into direct contact with such fluids. Coveralls are generally made from waterproof polymeric fabric.
Imaec Medntek’s Pro-Fab coverall suits protect healthcare providers from respiratory droplets and prevent the transmission of infections.
Imaec Medntek’s line-up of PPE Gowns:
At Imaec Medntek, we provide a complete array of disposable garmets including coveralls, isolation gowns, surgical gowns, wraparounds and sheets. Our Pro-Fab series of disposable garments, which are made of light-weight, comfortable, anti-static material, provide an excellent barrier against liquids and particles as well as pathogen. Our expertise is in supplying high-quality personal protection equipment to healthcare and hospital professionals. You can look through our entire line-up of medical gowns which are available in a variety of styles and fabrics to discover the right one for your facility. Our medical gowns help to minimize contaminations and keep wearers safe from infectious diseases, bloodborne pathogens, and potentially toxic substances.
Our team is ready to assist you in a bulk purchase that will fulfil your requirements of keeping your employees safe. Imaec Medntek has a solution for your company’s demand for high-quality PPE garments. We will deliver them as soon as possible to guarantee that your organization gets the equipment it need.
1) ISO 16604 ISO/TC 94, Personal safety — Protective clothing and equipment (https://www.iso.org/)
2) Kilinc FS. Et al, Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics. September 2015. doi:10.1177/155892501501000313