Protection from Ebola: A complicated procedure
Health-care workers must wear personal protective equipment when treating Ebola patients. The extensive and meticulous techniques vary slightly, depending on organization, location and availability of supplies, but must be carefully followed to avoid infection from the virus.
Wash hands. Put on coverall or gown, tying at back of the neck and waist. Secure facemask or respirator and make sure it fits snuggly around nose bridge, face and below chin. Place face shield or goggles over face and/or eyes. Surgical cap ties at the back of the head. Boots or shoe covers are positioned and worn underneath the gown. Some workers wear two layers. Apron ties at the back and loops to the front. First pair of gloves is worn under the cuffs of the coverall or gown. Second pair of gloves is worn over the top of the coverall or gown. In some cases, gloves are taped shut by a buddy. Each person puts on their own gear, but each worker has a buddy. The buddy spot-checks for tears in equipment or open areas of skin that could become contaminated. When treating patients, workers should not touch their own faces, should limit the number of surfaces they touch, change their gloves if heavily contaminated and wash their gloved hands often. Depending on the organization or the availability of gloves, workers must either change the outer layer of gloves when moving from patient to patient or wash gloved hands with soap and water.
Two pairs of gloves, taped closed
THE SUI T (Doctors Without Borders design)
Leaving the treatment facility, workers must step into a chlorine basin, or spray or wash with a water solution containing 0.5% chlorine. Carefully remove outer gloves, which are placed in a biohazard container to be treated and incinerated. Wash hands with soap and water or a 0.5% chlorine solution. Carefully remove apron. Wash hands. Unfasten gown ties and push gown away from body by touching the inside only. Turn gown inside out and roll down and over boots. Wash hands. Remove boots with a boot remover, or remove shoe covers. Wash hands. Remove surgical cap. Wash hands. Remove inner layer of gloves. Wash hands. Remove face shield or goggles. Wash hands. Remove face mask or respirator. Wash hands. When leaving the containment area, feet are sprayed with bleach solution. The CDC cautions workers not to bypass any of these steps.
In the treatment area
When putting on equipment, workers should adjust for comfort and should not adjust in the treatment center because of the risk of exposure and contamination.
Leaving and undressing
SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.