Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Provide care, but do so safely, utilizing readily available personal protective equipment (PPE)

When there is potential for coming into contact with another person’s body fluids while giving care, you should always use “personal protective equipment.” Although there are many types of PPE, the most common types used in emergency medical care are gloves and breathing barriers.

By using PPE, you achieve something called “body substance isolation.” With BSI, you are essentially putting up a “wall” between you and the other person’s blood and other body fluids (potentially infectious materials). If it turns out that the person you’re trying to help has a contagious disease (which you can’t determine simply by looking at them, even if you know them personally), then you remain safe from contamination.

If you’re going to deliver care to someone in need, your first thought should go to your own personal safety. Whether you know the person or not, use personal protective equipment!

Gloves and breathing barriers are easy to use, readily available to purchase and simple to carry. At CPR-Twin Cities, you will practice using gloves in all of our  classes (including recommended ways of taking them off, so you don’t contaminate yourself as you remove them), and you will also practice using breathing barriers in all of our CPR classes.

By the way, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require that all employees who have the potential for contacting another person’s body fluids must be given bloodborne pathogens training — at no charge to the employee.