Respiratory protective equipment
In the last few decades, the investigations have shown that infectious pathogens can be transferred to healthcare personnel through their respiratory organs and dermis via air and liquids and through mucus membranes. Thus, protective equipment is essential for healthcare personnel. Consequently, there are different types of personnel gear including medical masks, respirators, gloves, gowns. Primarily they are textile-based and used regularly by healthcare personnel.
By the 1990s, different types of fibres (e.g. polypropylene and cellulose) were used to produce medical masks. Contemporary medical masks are usually composed of three nonwoven fabric layers-a cover web, a filter layer and a shell fabric. The innermost cover web is a spun-bonded nonwoven mat and lies next to the wearer’s skin. The filter layer between the cover web and shell fabric is a melt-blown nonwoven mat that primarily deters hazardous aerosol particles, microorganisms and bodily fluids. The shell fabric is the outermost layer exposed to the ambient environment. This fabric is made from a spun-bonded nonwoven mat and supports the filter layer.
Dermal protective equipment
Medical service employees often put their hands at high risk to come into contact with bodily fluids that may contain pathogenic microorganisms. In order to prevent the transfer of liquid-borne microorganisms, since 1890 it has been standard practice for healthcare personnel to wear sterilised medical gloves. In the last few decades, a great deal of improvement has occurred in the production of medical gloves. Presently, medical gloves are generally made of different water-repellent textile polymers (typically made of latex, nitrile rubber, vinyl, or neoprene) which can protect healthcare personnel from direct contact with contaminated liquids.
Along with the hands, other body parts of healthcare personnel may also come into contact with contaminated liquids. In order to prevent the transfer of pathogens, the use of medical gowns by healthcare personnel has been in practice since the early 19th century. These gowns usually consist of a long piece of cloth, fastened at the back with twill tape ties. Disposable medical gowns are made of paper and/or thin plastic, and reusable medical gowns are generally made of natural (e.g., cotton) and/or synthetic (e.g., polyester) fibres. The fibres are converted into yarn through a spinning process, and then woven into fabric. Finally the fabric is converted into medical gowns.