What protective equipment should doctors wear?
Most importantly, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including respirators or masks with at least FFP2 (better FFP3). Table 1 shows the minimal composition of a PPE set. Be aware that intubating a patient with COVID-19 puts you at an especially high risk and make sure that you are wearing all your protective gear correctly.
Respiratory protection: The respirator protects from the inhalation of droplets and particles. Because different types of respirators fit differently between users, the respirator requires a fitting test. ECDC suggests the use of class 2 or 3 filtering face-piece (FFP) respirators (FFP2 or FFP3, Figure 1) when assessing a suspected case or managing a confirmed case. A FFP3 respirator should be always used when performing aerosol-generating procedures.
Note: Face masks (surgical masks) mainly protect from exhaled droplets ; their use is recommended in case of shortage of respirators and on a case-by-case assessment. Surgical masks do not require fit testing.
Eye protection: Goggles, or face shields (Figure 2), should be used to prevent virus exposure of the eye mucosa. Important: goggles need to fit the user’s facial features and have to be compatible with the respirator.
Body protection: Long-sleeved water-resistant gowns should be used to prevent body contamination. This PPE item does not need to be sterile unless it is used in a sterile environment (e.g. operating room). If water-resistant gowns are not available, a single-use plastic apron worn over the non-water-resistant gown can be used.
Hand protection: Gloves should be used when managing suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Reference and images from: ECDC: European council for disease prevention and control (Guidelines)