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How To Dispose PPE Components Like Face Masks & Gloves After Coming In Contact With COVID-19 Patients?

In the last five months, the world has seen how contagious and dreadful the coronavirus is. Studies have shown that it very easily gets transmitted from one human to the other mainly through the respiratory droplets generated when you sneeze, cough, or exhale. It is also transmitted by direct touch and getting in contact/touch with surfaces/objects that are contaminated and touching the same hand to nose, mouth, or even eyes.

That is why those who are in close contact with the COVID-19 patients have to wear protective gear such as PPE Kits, face masks, and gloves. These gears can protect the doctors, nurses, and even close relatives from the infection. But if they do not remove or dispose of them off properly and with great care, it can lead to the spread of the coronavirus.

What Are PPE’s?

PPE’s or Personal Protective Equipments are protective gear that safeguards caregivers and healthcare workers by reducing their exposure to the deadly virus. The components of the PPE kit include face-shields, goggles, gloves, masks, gowns/coverall, shoe cover, and headcover. Naturally one has to take care of sanitizing hands while putting them on. But it is equally important to dispose of them properly.

Improperly disposed of PPE’s that have been found thrown near trash counters on roads has been the cause of spreading coronavirus in some cases. That is why proper care must be taken while disposing of all the components of a PPE kit.

Disposing PPE Components As Advised By WHO

According to WHO you should clean hands with a sanitizer or alcohol-based soap/hand-rub and water before putting on the PPE ensemble. Make sure that your nose and mouth are completely covered and there are no gaps between the mask and your face. Most important thing is to replace the mask as soon as it becomes damp. Remove it from the back gently so that the solid and liquid contaminants on the mask are not disturbed.

Use a closed bin for discarding mask and immediately wash hands with soap water which contains 60% alcohol and rub the hands for a minimum of 20 seconds before putting on a new mask.

The masks and all the components of PPE’s that are used in isolation or quarantine facilities or hospitals come under medical waste and hence should be decontaminated and incinerated. For that, they must be exposed to high temperatures at the facilities dedicated to such processes. Single-used masks should not be thrown on the road. Those with sputum and cough secretions can be extremely infectious and can cause infection to garbage collectors and others who come in contact with them.

Instead, such components should be disposed of in a separate container and sent to incineration plants. The government bodies have now become quite aware of the importance of disposing of the PPE components properly and hence it has been trying to increase incineration facilities in all the cities. By getting in touch with your corporator or local NGO’s you can get detailed information about such plants in your city and accordingly arrange for proper disposal of used PPE components.

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