COVID-19: Understanding PPE Types and Preventive Actions

The coronavirus is here, and it’s spreading quickly. And while that may strike fear and panic in a population, it’s important to remember that there are helpful, preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection. 


The coronavirus is here, and it’s spreading quickly. And while that might strike fear and panic in a population, it’s important to remember that a clear head, along with everyday preventive actions, can help protect you and others from infection. 

Use this as a guide to understanding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and rational use, safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and how CustomUSB’s FDA-certified facility and product sourcing expertise can help protect your essential workers.

PPE Tools

According to the CDC, personal protective equipment (PPE) is a nonspecific disease barrier, and the main source of protection for emergency and recovery workers. In CustomUSB’s COVID-19 Safety Solutions Catalog, you’ll find the following PPE products: 

  • Face shields
  • Gloves
  • Goggles and glasses
  • Gowns and coveralls
  • Masks
  • Respirators
  • Shoe covers
  • Isolation caps

For Your Eyes. Eyewear designed to reduce the risk of exposure to chemical splashes, laser radiation and/or flying debris. While goggles may fit securely around the eyes, protective glasses can only protect the front and sides of the eyes. Fortunately, both types of eyewear allow prescription glasses to be worn underneath.

For Your Face. Face shields do exactly as its name suggests — they cover the face with a clear, plastic screen, protecting the person’s face from infectious droplets and contact with contaminated material. Without it, germs can move through the mucous membranes, like those in the mouth, eyes and nose. 

Surgical face masks are single-use and 3-ply. When donned properly, a surgical mask can help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays or splatter — that may contain germs — from reaching your mouth and nose.

For Your Lungs. The N95 mask reduces the wearer’s exposure to particles including small particle aerosols and large droplets (only non-oil aerosols). N95 masks are tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) a research agency that is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When properly fitted and donned, minimal leakage occurs around the edges of the respirator every time the user inhales.

KN95s  are regulated by the Chinese government and nearly identical to the N95, with only slight differences in their specifications. The CDC lists KN95 masks as a suitable alternative when N95s are unavailable.

Both types are available through CustomUSB

For Your Hands. Protective gloves are essential for minimizing contact and droplet exposure, and probably the most widely used type of PPE. Nitrile gloves have the added benefit of resistance to punctures. 

Did you know? While latex is a common material that provides a tighter fit over the hand and wrist, latex allergies have become more common, hence the switch to nitrile.

For Your Body. Clean, non-sterile, long-sleeve gown to protect clothes from contamination. Currently, there are no recommendations for people to use protective clothing for potential exposures to the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outside of the healthcare setting.

What We Know So Far

For clinicians, this information isn’t new. For non-health care essential personnel, here’s a breakdown of what medical experts know so far: 

  1. Coronavirus is spread through contact and droplets, not airborne transmission.
  2. Particulate respirators, including N95 masks, are indicated to protect against airborne transmission of infection.
  3. Proper use of N95 masks require fit testing.
  4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of N95 masks by health care workers at the “highest risk of contracting or experiencing complications of infection.”
  5. In addition to health care workers, the use of proper face masks is essential for those directly caring for someone in close settings, including homes and immunocompromised persons.
  6. By depleting supplies, those directly caring for patients with infectious disease — including COVID-19 — will be at risk for infection themselves and can contribute to its spread.
  7. Wearing masks unnecessarily can contribute to a false sense of security, causing lapses in other measures, such as hand washing, which has shown time and time again to be the most effective method of decreasing infectious disease risk and spread. – Source: Lippincott Nursing Center

Preventive Measures

To help deter the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends: 

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoiding contact with your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

How CustomUSB Can Help

We have more than 15 years’ worth of product sourcing expertise and our quality control team in Asia to help our customers and partners gain access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the best possible prices throughout this COVID-19 crisis.

CustomUSB is a registered FDA facility, and our trusted supply chain partners produce genuine, certified PPE articles such as N95 / KN95 respiratory masks along with other safety essentials.

To protect your essential workforce, browse our COVID-19 Safety Solutions Product Catalog and reach out to a dedicated Account Manager today.

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