“According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Personal Protective Equipment, commonly known as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious injury and illness in the workplace. These injuries and illnesses may be caused by contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical or other hazards in the workplace. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, goggles and shoes, headphones or caps, helmets, respirators or coveralls, waistcoats and coveralls.”
During a global pandemic, healthcare professionals play a leading role in the fight against the virus. We cannot thank enough nurses, doctors and other health care professionals for their work. During this crisis, we learned about the important role of PPE (or personal protective equipment) in the safety of healthcare professionals, especially now when there is a shortage. We all agree on the benefits of PPE, but where does it come from?
Bad Air and Bird Masks
Perhaps you know the cruel doctors of bird masks associated with the plague. In response to the miasma theory, masks and protective clothing were worn, outdated medical theory that diseases such as cholera, Chlamydia or black plague were caused by miasma, a harmful form of “bad air” also known as night air. The theory proves that Miami is the cause of the epidemic , which begins with the breakdown of organic matter.
Although it is wrong, miasma theory at least combines the distribution of stinking things with disease. The reason the plague doctors wore these strange masks with their beaks was because their beaks were full of herbs to protect them from bad air, otherwise they could breathe.
Until the discovery of germs and great changes in medical thinking, PSA would not really exist. However, plasma theory began to combine any type of protective or clean clothing with personal safety.
Modern Personal Protective Equipment
Even when healthcare professionals began to understand the nature of epidemiology and the spread of the disease (by odorless pathogens) in the mid-nineteenth century, the slow adoption of more stringent protocols
For example, surgical gloves have an interesting history. Doctors recognized the need to protect hands against potentially infectious diseases, and some used parts of the intestine to cover their hands, while others wore cotton, silk or leather gloves. It wasn’t until 1844, when Charles Goodyear developed the rubber vulcanization process, that rubber could not be used with gloves. In 1899, Goodyear Rubber Company commissioned the production of the world’s first medical rubber gloves.
Like the first medical gloves, the surgical masks were very thick. In the mid-nineteenth century, they were only a beautiful handkerchief or gauze tied to the face and was not designed to filter airborne diseases. They have been used (and used) to prevent doctors from coughing or sneezing wounds during surgery. It wasn’t until the 1920s that people really began to understand the importance of medical personnel who wore these masks near sick patients and during surgery.
In the 1970s, the Office of Mines and the National Institute for Safety and Health at Work joined forces to protect employees in order to create the first criteria for “disposable breathing apparatus”. The first disposable N95 “dustproof” respirator as we know it was developed by 3M and approved on May 25, 1972.
3M has changed the technology developed to make gift ribbons stiffer the right filter for respirators. If particles, silica or viruses enter this fan, they will be blocked. 3M also added static electricity to the material so that even the smallest particles are attracted to the fibers.
It took several decades for the N95 ventilator to return to clinical conditions. In the 1990s, with the advent of drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV, the N95 standard for healthcare facilities was updated and doctors began wearing it to help patients with tuberculosis. Respirators are rarely used in hospitals today, but epidemics like COVID-19 require a lot of protection.