In one of my preparedness groups that I am a part of on Facebook, I was asked to give a list of supplies needed for families to protect themselves from Ebola. Up until now I have steered clear from writing a post about Ebola because there is just SO much conflicting information regarding the disease and how to handle it. This is a list of personal protective equipment (also called PPE) that healthcare workers are encouraged to wear when treating Ebola patients. All of this can be found on Amazon, and I will link to the supplies I recommend, so if you click on a link in teal, you can purchase these items. There is also a video I will attach that you should watch for proper procedure to put it on and take it off. Let me be VERY clear about one thing: Your equipment is only as good as your knowledge on how to use it! If you don’t put on these items and especially take them off correctly, you can easily become contaminated.
Again, there is a lot of controversy and speculation as to how Ebola is spread, so this list is basically to cover you for the most extreme and contagious illnesses we see in hospitals.
- Shoe or boot covers
- Fluid impermeable gown (Note that a full “bunny suit” can be substituted for the shoe covers and gown, however, these are harder to take off by yourself without contaminating yourself.)
- Gloves (and LOTS of them!) I prefer nitrile gloves to prevent latex allergy issues.
- N95 Respirator Mask
- Safety goggles and/or face shield
- Hair bonnet
- Thick plastic trash bags or biohazard bags to dispose of soiled garments/equipment
- Hand sanitizer and/or antibacterial soap
- Antibacterial wipes or solution to disinfect hard surfaces (We use Sani Wipes at our hospital. When left WET on a surface for 10 minutes or more they will kill anything and everything except for C-Diff, which needs friction to be killed sufficiently)
I will make a note that if you don’t have anyone to untie the gown for you, you can grasp the gown at the chest level with your gloved hands and pull forward to break the ties and pull it off without touching the inside of the gown. Then roll it up as described in the video and continue.
Proper hand washing/hand sanitizer (using friction for at least 15 seconds and letting your hands dry i.e. no paper towels) is the single most important part of these precautions. IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE: Please wash your hands, and wash them often, especially before eating and after using the restroom.
If you truly want to fully protect yourself, you will need to wear this equipment 24/7 when in contact with any people whom you are not absolutely certain don’t have Ebola. If you go to the restroom in a public area or need to de-gown for any reason, you will need to make absolutely certain you remove the gear properly and put new PPE back on before coming into contact with anyone else. It is a pain, and it is redundant.
Having a decontamination area in your house to properly remove and dispose of the gear before you enter your home isn’t a bad idea, as well as having extra food and water in your home to sustain your family for at least 3 weeks, which is the incubation period for Ebola.
Honestly, I think wearing PPE 24/7 is a little bit overboard, and I’m not ready to go to those lengths just yet. I’m just throwing this out there for you to make your own informed decision. 🙂
What About You?
What do you think? Are you prepared to deal with Ebola? or are you not worrying about it at this point in time? What precautions have you taken so far?