ER Nurse and Branksome Alum Kelly Holland’09 urges correct protocol for mask use
Kelly Holland’09 is an ER nurse in Calgary. We don’t have a photo of her because she is practising expert safety and didn’t want to bring her cellphone to work.
“What I want to share is more advice than anything else. I just don’t want people infecting themselves accidentally while using personal protective equipment (PPE) the wrong way,” she says.
Please take a moment to read her advice for using PPE. It’s an eye-opener that will help us all brush up on a new area of knowledge we didn’t expect we’d need, just a few short weeks ago:
“Medical gloves are there to stop human fluids from getting on your hands. Medical gloves don’t stop microbes from getting through. If you are going to wear gloves all day and not wash your hands, it’s the same as not wearing gloves and not washing your hands. Please still wash your hands. It’s probably safer to just not wear gloves and to wash your hands when you’re out in the world.”
“Surgical masks need to be taken off properly, otherwise you’re more likely to infect yourself with them. Wash your hands before you put on your mask. Once the mask is on, do not touch it. Don’t pull it down to your chin, don’t let it dangle off of one ear. Think of the mask’s exterior as a dirty air filter. You don’t want it to touch any part of you once you’ve been wearing it.
When you are going to take it off again, wash your hands. Remove it by unlooping it from both ears at the same time and put it right into the garbage, then wash your hands again.
If you’re making a homemade mask, have a pocket in the mask where you can keep a coffee filter. When you’re done using the mask for your outing, remove the mask safely (as above) and then put the filter right into the garbage.
Then wash your hands again for 20 seconds, including the front and back of your hands, thumbs, fingertips and wrists. Do that twice for about 20 seconds. Your homemade mask is also now considered dirty, so remove it safely and put it right into the washing machine.”
On N95 masks:
“Unless you are actually intubating a patient or performing CPR, you do not need an N95 mask. A regular surgical mask will do. Please leave them for the healthcare system.”