When working with the elderly we often get asked questions relating to medical matters. “What’s the difference between branded and generic drugs?” is a common one. Another one we regularly enquired about is “Are Chemists the same as Pharmacists?” Recently however, in light of the global panic over the virus that’s been plaguing our senior populations, a question about PPE has been coming up often.
So, Just What Exactly is PPE?
PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. It usually refers to medical protective clothing, surgical face masks, latex, vinyl or nitrile medical gloves, and often goggles, helmets or other protective gear. The term has come into popular use since 2020, however it does not only apply to medical situations. For example, a bee keeper will wear PPE when going out to collect honey from their bees.
Personal Protective Equipment includes all forms of clothing or accessories designed to protect the wearer from injury, infection or contamination of any sort. While PPE is now commonly used in relation to medical protective gear, used in hospitals or clinics, the term is also used in relation to workers protecting themselves from physical harm, chemical contamination, airborne particulates, heat, extreme cold, and biohazards.
Sometimes PPE is even used in relation to occupational health and safety gear, for people working on job sites, and even for sports and recreational protective wear.
PPE in Mainstream Culture
With everyone now extremely worried about the elderly and protecting their health, PPE has become part of mainstream culture. Artistic face masks are being designed and sold, medical gloves are sold at from any pharmacy you might expect to have stock of them, and face shields are not an uncommon sight to see in public. Almost all clinics, hospitals, offices, and large commercial or industrial workplaces now have easy-to-spot, safety signage showing staff and visitors to the business where the storage of protective equipment is, should there be an emergency.
Keeping Seniors Safe
Nursing homes and clinics that are often frequented by seniors will of course be well stocked on all the PPE the staff might need to keep themselves, and their clientele, safe. As it seems like the panic caused by the outbreak is not going away anytime soon, we can expect to be hearing more and more about PPE in the coming months. Now that you know what PPE stands for you can use it more often and teach the meaning to others who don’t know. Always remember to keep yourself PPE protected in high-risk environments which will help to keep our seniors safe too!