Over the past several months, many physical therapy practices have closed—now reopening as statewide restrictions are lifted. With reopening, PPE has become a topic of discussion. As a physical therapist, you have most likely been trying to decide what products you need to protect your patients and practice during operating hours. At MeyerPT, we are your single source solution for top quality PPE products you can trust. Our team is here to help you navigate the ongoing healthcare crisis.
The Physical Therapist’s Guide to PPE
Before purchasing personal protective essentials, it is imperative that you educate yourself on the options available to your physical therapy practice. Staying up to date with the latest trends in the industry may also provide you with insight while making decisions. We have compiled the below guide of PPE education for you to reference for your practice.
What is PPE?
According to the FDA, “Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, gloves, face shields, goggles, surgical masks, respirators, and other equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or help prevent wearer exposure to infection or illness.”1
Hand sanitizer is essential to keep on hand for your patients as their first line of defense when they enter your practice. Due to the current crisis, the market is stocked with hand sanitizers, but with that influx comes the possibility for a lack of standardization in manufacturing. Not all hand sanitizers are created equally, which means that some may not be safe to use.
According to the FDA, “If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.”2
Ethanol vs. Methanol
Ethanol contains two carbons. The extra carbon in ethanol allows it to be processed by the body into harmless byproducts. Methanol contains only one carbon, which cannot bind to the correct enzymes in the body. Because methanol-based hand sanitizer is absorbed through the skin, it can lead to toxic levels of this chemical in the body. When shopping for hand sanitizer, be sure to look for products that contain ethanol.
Ethanol-Based Hand Sanitizer: BodyMed® Hand Sanitizer – 70% Ethyl Alcohol
As some states are implementing mandatory mask requirements, it’s important that your practice is stocked with disposable face masks—whether your state requires them or not. The CDC “recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”3 Although patients may have their own cloth face masks that they wear to your practice, you should still have inventory of disposable PPE masks in the event that a patient forgets to bring one.
Different Types of Masks
N95 Mask: This type of mask fits very close to the face. It is efficient in filtering airborne particles, which is why it is typically used in healthcare settings.4
Surgical Mask: This type of mask fits looser than an N95 mask and is one of the most commonly used disposable masks.4
Shop our selection of face masks for your practice here.
How to Put On & Remove a Face Mask
Step 1: Wash the hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Step 2: Take the mask and place it over the mouth and nose, ensuring there are no gaps. Take the ear loops and secure them behind the ears.
Step 3: To remove, avoid touching the front of the mask that is exposed. Remove the mask from behind and discard. Again, wash the hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Similar to other types of PPE, there are a variety of different gloves for you to choose from for your physical therapy practice. The two most common types of gloves you will see while shopping are nitrile and vinyl, but what is the difference between the two?
Vinyl gloves are more economical, durable gloves that have anti-static properties, are best used with non-hazardous materials, and are not made with natural rubber latex.
Nitrile gloves are made with a synthetic rubber compound, have a higher puncture resistance than other glove material, and have a better chemical resistance.
Shop our selection of gloves here.
Gowns may not be at the top of your list of items to purchase for your practice, but they are still an essential form of PPE. According to the FDA, “Gowns are one part of an overall infection-control strategy. A few of the many terms that have been used to refer to gowns intended for use in health care settings, include surgical gowns, isolation gowns, surgical isolation gowns, nonsurgical gowns, procedural gowns, and operating room gowns.5
When shopping for a medical gown, it’s crucial that you know the level of protection it provides. The Association of the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) classifies gowns into four levels based on risk.
Level 1: Minimal Risk
Typically used in the following settings: Basic care units, standard isolation, or standard medical facilities.
Level 2: Low Risk
Typically used in the following settings: Blood draws, intensive care units, or labs.
Level 3: Moderate Risk
Typically used in the following settings: Inserting IVs, emergency rooms, or trauma cases.
Level 4: High Risk
Typically used in the following settings: Fluid intense procedures, surgeries, or settings where protection from pathogens is needed.
Trust MeyerPT for top quality PPE and health and safety essentials for your practice. Shop our selection of PPE that is in stock and available for immediate shipment.
Create an account with MeyerPT today or contact your personal account manager at 1.866.528.2144 for more information.
MeyerPT is doing as much as possible to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. So to avoid cross-contamination of returned merchandise, we are not accepting any returns or cancellations until further notice. For the following products we are no longer accepting returns and all sales are final: Masks, Gloves, Thermometers, Pulse oximeters, Hand sanitizer, Isolation gowns, Face shields, Sneeze Guards.
1Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Medical Devices.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/medical-devices/emergency-situations-medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices.
2Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “FDA Advises Consumers Not to Use Eskbiochem Hand Sanitizers.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-advises-consumers-not-use-hand-sanitizer-products-manufactured-eskbiochem.
3“COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 June 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html.
4Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “N95 Respirators, Surgical Masks, and Face Masks.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-surgical-masks-and-face-masks.
5Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Medical Gowns.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/medical-gowns#:~:text=Gowns%20are%20one%20part%20of,gowns%2C%20and%20operating%20room%20gowns.