Guidelines & Recommendations

PPE for Standard Precautions: Determining What to Wear

Decisions about what PPE to use should be determined by the type and level of contact you will have with the patient.

Ask yourself:

  • Will I be touching the patient or potentially contaminated objects in their environment?
  • Is there a likelihood of blood or body fluids spraying or splashing?
  • Is the patient coughing, sneezing, or vomiting?
  • Do they have diarrhea?

Decisions about PPE can also be made with the following in mind: the diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of the patient, the patient's symptoms, and the type of infectious agent or illness you may encounter.

To determine what PPE to wear, ask yourself:

  • What is the patient's diagnosis or suspected diagnosis?
  • Is the patient infectious?
  • What is the infectious agent or illness that I may encounter?
  • What is the mode of transmission of this agent or illness?
  • Does the patient have symptoms which lead to increased likelihood of transmission?

Consider the use of the following PPE:

  • Gloves: Use when you will have to touch a patient in a way that might lead to exposure to blood or body fluids or touch objects in their environment that may be contaminated
  • Gowns: Use when there is a risk of your clothing or exposed skin coming in contact with anything wet or weeping
  • Mask and goggles or a face shield: Use when there is a risk of being splashed or sprayed with blood or body fluids

When in doubt, applying the most conservative level of PPE is the best protection.

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