With the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, spreading around the world, doctors and nurses are working double shifts in the emergency and isolation wards to make sure that no COVID-19 patient goes unattended.

These medical professionals are risking their lives in order to treat the flood of patients affected by the new coronavirus infection. As per a report published in The Lancet - a highly regarded peer-reviewed journal - on 21 March 2020, 20% of the working medical professionals in Italy have gotten COVID-19 - some have even died.

In this hour of need, they cannot do anything but help the affected people. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the only thing that can protect medical professionals from this highly infectious disease.

If you are a medical professional reading this, we salute your spirit of service. And want to emphasize that PPE is recommended by the health ministry for medical professionals providing care to COVID-19 patients. Here in this article, we will tell you the 10 steps to put on PPE properly to ensure maximum protection.

  1. 10 steps for putting on personal protective equipment (PPE)
  2. How to remove the Personal Protective Equipment?
Doctors for 10 steps to put on protective gear for medical professionals

Before you start, make sure that the PPEs are being worn in an area which is completely disinfected and safe to be without protection.

Step 1: engage with your trainer

If you work in a hospital, then your hospital may have chosen a senior medical officer to train you in the right way to wear PPE. Have a conversation with your trainer and engage with them. Tell them whether you are properly hydrated and have used the washroom. Make sure that you get this training properly, as without this training you will not be able to protect yourself from possible infection.

If you work in a smaller hospital or clinic, take the help of another doctor to put on the gear in a disinfected room. You can also watch our video on the proper way to wear PPE.

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Step 2: inspect the gear

Make sure that every protective item is available on the table. The necessary items are:

  • Alcohol rub
  • Boot cover
  • Protective gown
  • Protective mask
  • Surgical hood
  • Protective goggles
  • Surgical gloves

Before wearing any of these, make sure that the size of all the gear is appropriate for you.

Step 3: remove all extra items

Take off any accessories you might be wearing, like rings, watches, bangles, religious threads or hospital IDs from your body as they can act as a carrier for the virus. If you have long hair, tie them up tightly.

Step 4: perform hand hygiene

Take alcohol-based sanitizer and clean your hands with it. The sanitizer should have 60% to 95% alcohol content in it. Put enough sanitizer on your hands to cover all surfaces. Rub all the surfaces of your hands just like you do while washing your hands properly. Rub for 20 seconds or until your hands feel dry.

Step 5: cover the boots

Sit in a comfortable position on a stool or in a chair, and wear the boot covers. Make sure that the boot covers fit snuggly. Try to walk around a bit with them so that you can adjust them right away.

Step 6: gown the body

Now put on a long-sleeved wrap-around gown over your body and tie the straps. You can even ask your trainer to help you tie the loops of the gown. Make sure that the gown fits you properly while allowing unrestricted movement, so you can see patients and perform procedures without difficulty. The gown should be long enough to come below your knees.

Step 7: mask your face

Place the N-95 respirator over your nose, mouth and chin. Once you have put the mask over your face, stretch the loops over the back of the head. These masks have the ability to filter airborne particles present in the air. They provide a better seal over the mouth and the nose. To check any leaks, breathe in and out a few times.

Read more: How useful are masks against COVID-19 and how to use them

Step 8: cover the head

Wear the surgical hood over the head and let the straps go over the shoulder. Now tie the straps to secure the hood. Move your head around to check if the straps are too tight or too loose.

Step 9: protect the eyes

Wear the protective goggles that seem compatible with the N-95 respirator. These goggles are transparent and have side panels to protect your eyes from any tiny infected droplets.

Step 10: glove the hands

Now the last step is to wear the surgical gloves. Do not touch the outer surface of the gloves while wearing them as it is sterilized. Pull the gloves tightly over the sleeves of the gown.

Ask your trainer (or another doctor) to check all your fittings before you go to treat the patients.

Doffing is the medical term used for removing the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Following is the correct way of removing PPE:

  • Take off one of your gloves by touching the inner surface of the glove with the other hand. Remove it without touching the outer surface. Roll it into a ball and put it on the gloved hand. While touching the inner side, remove the glove of the other hand. Discard both gloves in a closed dustbin.
  • Next, remove the glasses by holding their rim. Discard them in the bin.
  • Now remove the gown by only touching the gown straps. Do not touch the outer (visible) surface of the gown. Put your fingers inside the gown from your neck and pull the gown away from your body. Touching only the inner part of the gown, roll it and discard it.
  • Take the hood off by removing the straps, and discard it in a closed dustbin.
  • Remove the shoe covers by touching their inner surface. Once removed, discard them in the dustbin.
  • Now remove the mask by removing the elastic loops from the back of the head. Do not touch the outer surface of the mask while removing it. Once removed, discard it in the dustbin.
  • After you have removed all the PPE, sanitize your hands again or wash your hands with soap and water - washing with soap and water for over 20 seconds is the better option.
Dr. Arun Mathur

Dr. Arun Mathur

General Physician
10 Years of Experience

Siddhartha Vatsa

Siddhartha Vatsa

General Physician
3 Years of Experience

Dr. Harshvardhan Deshpande

Dr. Harshvardhan Deshpande

General Physician
13 Years of Experience

Dr. Supriya Shirish

Dr. Supriya Shirish

General Physician
20 Years of Experience

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  1. Science Direct (Elsevier) [Internet]; COVID-19: protecting health-care workers
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