Personal Protection and Protective Equipments
As a first aid provider or a professional responder, there is always the risk of contracting a disease. This is because you will surely be expose to body substances once in contact with the victim.
Rescuers should understand the risk and take precautions to protect against different kinds of diseases. Bloodborne disease a such as Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS as well as airborne disease such as Tuberculosis should not be taken for granted.
Considering this, one should consider the following:
The food and drug administration have approved the first vaccine for hepatitis B in 1981. This was derived from plasma (blood products). In 1990 this type of vaccine was discontinued. Currently, Hepatitis B vaccines are mad synthetically and have been available in the market since 1986.
It takes only 3 shots to protect yourself and your loved ones against hepatitis B for a lifetime and don't worry... You cannot get hepatitis B from the vaccine.
This safe and effective vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth and for children up to 18 years. Adults, especially those who fall into a high-risk group such as professional rescuers, nurses, doctors should also seriously consider getting the hepatitis B vaccine.
Personal Protective Equipments
Personal protective equipments protect the body against different substances such as saliva, blood airborne pathogens that may contain elements that carry diseases. The responder of first aid provider should be able to have the following items:
- Protective Eyewear
- medical exam gloves
- barrier devices
You have the option to secure them individually since you can certainly find these items in medical supply stores. The price differs depending on the type of brand you want and the supplier. In choosing a protective eyewear or spectacles, make sure that they also have side protection. This will prevent exposure when body substances hit the side of your face. As for the gloves you can buy them on any medical supply outlets or even in pharmacies. Do not forget to check if you are allergic or not to such glove materials but there are also those that are designed for people with allergy. Like the gloves, you can also buy the mask on any medical supply stores and pharmacies. Having this things at hand will surely protect your vulnerable areas in the face and of course your hands.
As for the barrier devices, the best option would be is the pocket mask. They can be re used and all you need to do is change the filter. Of course you need to disinfect the mask after using. They come in different models and some even have an oxygen inlet where you can connect with an oxygen connector and supply it with supplementary oxygen as you provide the blow. This way, you increase the level of oxygen delivered towards the victim.
The other option would be is the face mask. They are quite easy to carry and they are disposable. Some face mask are even placed on a key chain, which makes it easy for you to bring all the time together with your car keys or house keys. Some are inside a pen which are very convenient to carry around. Some are just plain which are place inside a container that you can easily insert in your wallet.
Well, if you are really in for it, then you can get the whole I mentioned above in one whole package. Typically it is called Rescuer Responder Pack. This is what I have, considering that I have worked a rescuer for quite a time. Having such item even off duty is definitely a plus. As I have said, you will never know that along the corner you may encounter a person in need of help or assistance.
The responder pack contains the gloves, mask, face shield, pocket mask and even has additional accessories like scissors, plastic pack for infectious waste items. Normally the pack can be attached to the belt should you like wearing it on duty. This is very ideal for private duty, lifeguard duty considering that in this circumstance, you are most likely in the field.
There are situations that these protective devices may not be available and you are facing a situation where you really need to help. One thing you can use perhaps is a plastic cellophane as a replacement for your glove. This way, you will avoid direct contact with body substance such as blood, saliva when providing care.
Should the person suffer a cardiac arrest, then you can also just provide hands only cpr. This is providing compression only without providing mouth to mouth. Yes, such guideline has been approved already and should you wish to know more, you can visit this link on Hands Only CPR.
Having all of those protective items are good. But you should also put in mind that at the end of it all, proper hand washing procedure should be observe. Even if not responding to an emergency, the hands are always exposed to different kinds of things including bacteria. Proper hand washing will surely come a long way in protecting oneself.