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SAFETY MEASURES

Explainer: Donning and doffing PPE

Procedures vary depending on the level of precautions required.

In Summary
  • Proper hand hygiene should always be performed using an alcohol-based solution.
  • The first PPE to be donned is the gown, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Uasin Gishu healthcare staff during the burial of person who died of Covid-19.
COVID-19 Uasin Gishu healthcare staff during the burial of person who died of Covid-19.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

According to the World Health Organization, donning and doffing (removing) personal protective equipment varies, depending on the level of precautions required and therefore the type of PPE.

Before wearing the PPE for managing a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 case, proper hand hygiene should be performed using an alcohol-based solution.

The first PPE to be donned is the gown, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

After wearing the gown, it is suggested to proceed with the respirator or surgical mask.

Once the respirator/mask has been properly positioned, put on the goggles for eye protection.

After the goggles, the gloves are next. When wearing gloves, it is important to extend the glove to cover the wrist over the gown’s cuffs.

Removing (doffing) the PPE

The gloves are removed first because they are considered a heavily contaminated item. Use of alcohol-based hand disinfectant should be considered before removing the gloves.

To take them off, pinch and hold one glove (with the other gloved hand) between the palm and wrist area, and peeling it away from the wrist until it turns inside out covering the fingers. Dispose of the gloves in a biohazard bin.

After the removal of gloves, hand hygiene should be performed and a new pair of gloves worn to continue the doffing procedure.

 

With the new pair of gloves on, the gown is removed next. A second operator could assist in unbuttoning the backside of the gown. The assistant should wear gloves and a surgical mask, which need to be removed after opening the gown.

Next is the goggles which should either be disposed of if they are single-use, or placed in a bag or container for disinfection.

The respirator should be removed next. A finger or thumb is placed under the straps and the respirator taken off.

Finally, the gloves are removed in accordance with the procedure described above and hand hygiene performed.

Sources: WHO and the Lancet