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FAU study finds improper use of PPE can spread coronavirus

Doctor explains how to properly take off gloves, mask
Posted at 2:04 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 00:18:47-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A Florida Atlantic University doctor was part of a study on personal protective equipment that is attracting national attention.

Despite the use of PPE, some nurses and doctors have still contracted the coronavirus while treating patients.

So, a team of researchers, including Dr. Patrick Hughes of FAU, worked in collaboration with University of Arizona College of Medicine -Tucson and the Indiana University School of Medicine to reinforce the importance of using proper procedures when putting on and taking off PPE.

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During the study, the teams were able to demonstrate that if PPE isn't used properly, it can lead to the exposure of a contagion like the coronavirus.

Hughes, the lead author of the study, and his collaborators, used a nontoxic fluorescent solution to represent the virus during a PPE training session for health care staff.

The study, which was published in the journal Medical Education, found that the health care staff made errors while putting on or taking off their PPE, which exposed their skin to the solution.

The research said the most common error made by the health care staff in the study was contaminating the face or forearms while removing their PPE.

WEB EXTRA: FAU study finds improper use of PPE can spread coronavirus

"In contrast, those who put on and took off their PPE according to guidelines had no signs of the fluorescent contagion on their skin or face," according to the study.

Hughes' proper removal technique isn’t just for medical professionals. People wearing them every day need to remember that gloves and masks become contaminated throughout the day.

He said the best way to take off your gloves is to grab the cusp and turn it inside out, then take the other hand and grab underneath and turn that inside out, and then throw them way.

Then, wash your hands before removing your mask.

When taking off your mask, make sure you grab behind your ears, and lift it away from your face.

Hughes said he hopes his simulation is used by other places to help train health care professionals, and also help the public to protect themselves.