COVID-19 shocked the world, leaving many of us scrambling for the best ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm. This urgent need for protection is particularly important in the medical setting, as doctors and hospital staff routinely deal with infected patients. Here are some of the top protections that your doctor’s medical staff continue to use to keep you safe.
Masks are one of the most important types of medical supplies for protecting patients and staff in a clinical setting. In particular, N-95 masks provide the optimal level of protection as they have been shown to filter out the SARS-CoV-2 virus more effectively than cloth masks.
This type of mask is also commonly known as a “respirator.” Unfortunately, in many locations, access to N95 masks has been cut short by the massive demand for them worldwide.
In cases where N95 masks are not available, surgical masks (the kind most often used in non-pandemic hospital settings) will also provide protection.
In addition to masks, hand sanitizer is among the most important medical supplies for protecting patient and staff safety. The alcohol contained in these solutions effectively neutralizes any virus or bacteria it encounters, including the virus that causes COVID-19.
Frequent hand washing, much in the same way as liberal use of hand sanitizer, goes a long way toward preventing the transmission of SAR-CoV-2 (and other pathogens).
Keeping your hands clean is especially vital when touching or replacing masks. If you have a piece of virus on your hands, you risk spreading it into your nasal cavity or mouth when fitting a new mask or taking an old one off.
Doctors and their staff have long recognized the importance of hand washing. That’s why nearly all patient consultation rooms have a sink nearby.
Although the CDC recommends against using face shields in place of a mask, it is wise to include face shields in addition to masks in high-risk settings. In many clinics, this means that caregivers on a COVID ward, who deal with confirmed COVID cases day in and day out, must don the face shield to provide one extra layer of security.
Face shields are also important for interacting with immunocompromised patients (such as those undergoing cancer treatment or with underlying autoimmune conditions, for example) because they have a higher risk of serious illness due to COVID.
These are just a few of the key tools that medical practitioners use on a daily basis to keep you and your family safe when visiting the clinic.