Over the last several months, the issue of protection from the spread of infection has become much bigger and more mainstream than ever before, and with it, the spotlight on protective equipment.
We’re all facing new norms with social distancing, restrictions and an array of products all designed to reduce the spread of disease. Sanitisers, gloves, masks, and goggles are increasingly popular. In this article, we’ll explore some of the facial equipment designed to protect the wearer from infection.
Studies show that viruses like Covid-19 get into your body via the ‘wet parts’, or mucus membranes, i.e. your eyes, nose and mouth. They get out the same way, for example when someone sneezes or coughs. Infection happens either directly, or indirectly. Directly is when someone sneezes, coughs or spits and the droplets land in your eyes, nose or mouth. Indirectly is when you touch an infected surface with your hand and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. It is amazing how easily this can happen. The products on the market aimed at controlling infection are designed to either kill the viruses, as with sanitisers and sprays, or prevent it getting to the mucous membranes, as with face masks, disposable gloves and glasses.
Please note that eye protection alone is not effective for prevention of COVID-19 infection and full PPE should therefore always be worn. However, eye protection is an important factor in limiting the spread of the virus during face to face contact, and is a mechanical barrier to prevent eye rubbing.
We believe that educating people will result in a better use of the equipment and will enable first responders’ to have a better access to the available PPE stocks.
HOW DOES EYEWEAR PROTECT YOU FROM INFECTION?
Face shields have entered the discussion as a contender to the face mask, by nature of their coverage of eyes, nose and mouth, without the downsides of stuffiness, fogging, or blocked speech perception. Being able to see the wearer’s face may be especially important when dealing with those with issues like autism spectrum disorders. Also, most people find face shields more comfortable than face masks. This reduces the amount of face- touching and adjustment, all the better for preventing the spread of germs. Easy cleaning with soap and water or household disinfectants means some can be reused. In terms of efficacy, face shields appear to significantly reduce the amount of inhalation exposure to influenza virus, another droplet-spread respiratory virus. In a simulation study, face shields reduced immediate viral exposure by 96% when worn by a simulated health care worker within 18 inches of a cough.
For optimal protection, the shield should extend below the chin anteriorly, to the ears laterally, and there should be no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece.
SAFETY GLASSES AND OTG
Although there is no scientific evidence supporting the statement that glasses/spectacles offer protection against COVID-19, it is fair to consider that safety glasses and OTG create a physical barrier between the wearer’s eye and its environment.
Wide temples and lenses increase the size of the physical barrier, which is preferred. A higher curve also ensures a better barrier. The first rule of thumb is however to choose glasses/OTG that fit the wearer’s face and reduce the gap between the glasses and the skin. Safety glasses and OTG do not provide the same level of splash and droplet protection as goggles and face shield.
Sealed or Indirect vented goggles up the ante in infection control by further minimising the air flow (and droplet flow) around the eyes by providing a seal. Furthermore, you can wear many goggles over prescription glasses. However, poor fit can cause gaps, so look out for adjustable straps, and in the case of a good seal, fogging can be a problem, so definitely look for anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings. As with glasses, consider fit and what other PPE equipment you will be wearing the goggles with. It is important that the goggles used do not interfere with the right usage of the other PPE.
Goggles are not always designed to seal around the wearer’s eyes, so do not put too much stress on the headband. This would result in discomfort for the wearer and would reduce the longevity of the product.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF INFECTION CONTROL EQUIPMENT
Two types of equipments exist: Reusable and Disposable.
It is important to aknowledge that a pitted, scratched or damaged lense must be replaced, regardless of the type of equipment used,
Clean and disinfect reusable equipment with single-use cleaning lens wipes or with water and soap. If using a personal cloth and a cleaning lens spray, the cloth should be washed regularly. Disinfecting the equipment might impact its core properties and coating over time. Users must therefore inspect their safety eyewear prior to each use to make sure it still complies with the user instructions provided at the time of purchase. Avoid using disinfectant containing lanolin or oils.
The B-Clean range was specially developed by Bollé Safety and is a good detergent and has a low impact on the equipment’s core properties and coatings, therefore providing good durability to the product. Regardless of the product used, always read and follow the disinfectant’s user instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Follow these steps to properly clean your equipment as per CDC’s recommendations:
- Wear gloves during cleaning.
- Reprocess contaminated equipment in an area where other soiled equipment is handled.
- Use a cleaning solution such as the hospital designated disinfectant to scrub the equipment with a clean cloth.
- Allow the equipment to air dry in a non-infected environment.
Discard disposable equipment after use.
A SPECIFIC RANGE OF PRODUCTS
As the demand for PPE increases with the current situation, we took it as our duty to increase the capacity of production to improve the accessibility to reliable equipment for all first responders and people working on the front line and keeping the world spinning. To all of them, we want to say: «We’ve got you covered». For this reason, we have used all of our expertise to source products that we believe will answer the first responders’ needs for protection and visibility.