How Many Different Types of Medical Protective Equipment Are There in the World?


Table of Contents

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:31 am

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is clothing or equipment that is designed to protect workers from chemical, biological, and physical dangers on the job. As we go through some of the most common types of medical protective equipment, we will examine their effects and applications.

Different Types of Personal Protective Equipment

  1. Masks are a type of Medical PPE that come in both surgical and non-surgical varieties. By filtering out airborne contaminants, masks significantly reduce the wearer’s risk of respiratory infections. Masks such as the KN95 also prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, making them critically important in healthcare settings. A surgical mask is a type of facial covering that protects the mouth and nose from exposure to airborne particles, typically used by medical professionals during surgeries or other health care procedures. By wearing a surgical mask, you can help prevent the spread of germs in your environment and also protect yourself from breathing in any harmful microbes.
  2. Respiratory Masks can be used to protect against potentially harmful chemicals or fumes. When properly fitted and worn, a respiratory mask provides complete. Respirators form a tight seal around your nose and mouth, making them much more effective than ordinary masks. There are two types of respiratory masks: disposable and reusable. Disposable masks are for single-use only, while reusable ones can be used multiple times but must be cleaned after each use. An N95 respirator is an example of this type of respiratory mask. Along with the P2, N99, N100, FFP2, and FFP3 masks. An example of a reusable respirator is the 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator + P100 Particulate Filter.
  3.  Face shields are made of clear plastic and cover the entire front of the face, extending to the side of the head. Face shields provide barrier protection against droplets, splashes, and sprays. Polycarbonate and Polyester (PET) Film are two types of plastic often used in the production of surgical face shields. There are three types of surgical face shields: the traditional face shield, the bouffant style face shield, and the wrap-around style face shield. Face shields with goggles and eye visor shields are other kinds of face protection.
  4. Protective eyewear is designed to be easy to clean and dispose of and to protect the wearer’s eyes from becoming soiled or wet. In professions where airborne particles or fluids are a regular threat, PPE with proper protection will decrease exposure to hazardous materials. There are numerous types of safety glasses for PPE, each with its own set of features. Safety goggles and safety spectacles are examples of medical protective eyewear.
  • Medical gloves protect the wearer and/or the patient from the spread of infection or illness during medical procedures and examinations. Medical gloves are disposable and come in three types: nitrile, latex, and vinyl. Gloves also protect the hands of the health care worker, which can be susceptible to exposure to blood and other body fluids.
  • Medical gowns protect the wearer from the spread of infection if they come into contact with contaminated liquids or solids. Gowns provide widespread barrier protection against contaminants. There are three main types of medical gowns: the standard, the isolation, and the surgical.
  • Disposable medical coveralls are a type of disposable clothing that is worn by healthcare professionals to protect their clothing from becoming soiled or wet. They are typically made of a lightweight and durable material such as polypropylene or polyester and are designed to be easy to clean and dispose of. There are versions with and without adhesive for a more secure fit.
  • Shoe covers are disposable slip-on garments that cover the shoes. Shoe covers are frequently advised for use in hospitals to protect healthcare workers from blood and bodily fluid exposure. They come in anti-slip and heavy-duty shoe covers.
  • Head covers are also used to protect the patient’s head and neck from exposure to blood and other body fluids. Surgical caps are used to keep hair out of the operating field and may be disposable or reusable.

Personal Protective Equipment Effects and Applications

Face Masks-

The disposable face mask is composed of three layers of high-quality non-woven fabric and comes in three levels of efficacy. Level 1 masks are general-use masks intended for low-risk, nonsurgical procedures, and exams that do not involve aerosols, sprays, or fluids. Level 2 moderate barrier protection protects against low-to-moderate levels of chemicals, sprays, and fluids. For every potential scenario that involves significant amounts of aerosols, sprays, and fluids, Level 3 maximum barrier protection is required. You should not use surgical masks more than once.


Face Mask with Earloops: Hold the mask by the ear loops and wrap a loop around each ear.

Face Mask with Ties: Adjust the mask so that it is level with your nose, and then put the ties over your head, gathering them at the base of your skull before tying in a bow.

Face Mask with Bands: Place the mask on your face, with the nosepiece or top of the mask at your fingertips. Allow the headbands to dangle freely beneath your hands. Bring the mask to your nose and wrap the top strap around your head, resting it over the crown of your head. Pull the bottom strap over your head, bringing it up at the nape of your neck.

Respiratory Masks –

When a disposable respirator is put on, it should be fit-tested and a seal check performed. N95 masks have excellent filtration and breathability, as well as a form that does not collapse easily. They also have high filtering efficacy, good breathing ease, and low moisture build-up. Even with less-than-ideal fits, N95 masks still maintained a higher than 90% filtering efficiency. The filtration effectiveness of their KN95 counterparts fell between 53% and 85%, depending on the mask.

FFP2 and FFP3 respirators typically offer 12-16 times better protection against potential hazards than surgical masks, but it’s important to note that the fit of the mask on the individual’s face is ultimately what will determine its effectiveness.

The 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator + P100 Particulate Filter is a good way to protect yourself from particles. When combined with a face shield, the filter is more efficient. The 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator + P100 Particulate Filter is an effective method of reducing particle exposure.


When wearing a respiratory mask, it is important to make sure that the straps are secured around your head. The mask should fit snugly and not leak air. Make sure to frequently check the seal of the mask and replace the mask if it becomes worn. Ensure that the respirator is flat against your cheeks and place the upper headband on top of your crown, above your ears. The lower strap should be draped over the back of your head and beneath your ears. Make sure the mask is level with your face by pressing down firmly with your fingertips until you have a proper facial fit.

Face Shields-

Face shields that are made of transparent plastic provide good vision for both the patient and the user. They have a flexible strap to ensure a good fit around the head, as well as an entire face cover-including sides and length. It is ideal if they are fog-resistant, reusable (made from material that can be cleaned), or disposable. Wearing a face shield blocks approximately 96% of exposure to large droplets immediately after somebody coughs. Face shields are also beneficial to healthcare workers by reducing the chances of contamination by 97%. However, smaller particles can remain airborne for extended periods and more easily bypass the face shield altogether to be inhaled.


The band should fit snugly against the forehead with no gaps, and the shield should extend below the chin.

 Protective eyewear-

Safety glasses do not protect your eyes from infections like goggles would, and should only be used for protection against impact. The most effective way to protect your eyes from splashes, sprays, and respiratory droplets is by wearing goggles that fit snugly. However, it’s important to note that while they are highly effective in protecting your eyes, they do not provide splash or spray protection for the rest of your face.


There are two ways that medical personnel can wear safety goggles and safety glasses: either over the top of the head or by securing them to the face with straps.

Medical Gloves:

Nitrile gloves are a great option for those who are allergic to latex, as they are hypoallergenic. They have also punctured resistant and calprotectin chemical labs. Additionally, nitrile gloves have a longer shelf life than most other gloves, making them economical.

Latex – Latex gloves are a lightweight and strong material that is sensitive to the touch. They are made from rubber trees, making them eco-friendly and biodegradable. Latex gloves are highly resistant to spills, scrapes, and cuts.

Vinyl- Vinyl gloves are a popular choice for their non-allergic properties, low price, and easy availability. They provide good protection against bacteria and other contaminants.


Hold the glove by the cuff, and stretch it over your hand. Make sure that the glove is inside-out. Grasp the other cuff of the glove, and pull it over your hand until the gloves are fully on. Tuck in any loose material around the wrists of the gloves.

Medical Gowns-

The primary distinction between an isolation gown and a surgical gown is that the critical zones for testing are located on the back of a surgical gown, which is not protective. The back of a level-rated isolation garment must provide complete back coverage and have a barrier capability of at least Level 1. The (CDC) has a system for classifying the risk of infection associated with various tasks. This system has four levels, with Level 1 being the lowest risk and Level 4 being the highest risk.


The content provides instructions on how to put on a gown. It is important to follow the steps carefully to avoid any contamination. The gown should be opened in the front, and the gloves should be put on first. The strings at the neck of the gown should be tied, and the fabric at the back of the gown should be tucked in.

Disposable Coveralls:

 Disposable coveralls are effective in protecting the wearer from aerosols, splashes, and sprays. They are also effective in preventing the wearer from coming into contact with hazardous materials. They are also effective at allowing heat and sweat to escape, making them comfortable to wear for extended periods. The fabric is breathable and impervious, passing synthetic blood penetration resistance tests. The hood design provides overall protection, with an elastic wrist and open ankle.


Put on your coverall with the zipper in the front. Pull up the zipper. Make sure the cuffs of the inner gloves are tucked under the sleeve of the coverall if a coverall with thumb hooks is not used. If taping is used, make sure a tab is created by folding the tape over at the end.

Shoe and Head Covers-

Head covers are made from a lightweight; breathable fabric such as cotton or polyester. Medical personnel use head covers to protect themselves from biological contaminants. The efficacy of disposable surgical caps is evident in their ability to prevent sweat from falling.

Shoe covers can help to reduce the spread of contamination, maintain a cleaner room and environment, and maintain shoes clean. They are an effective way to prevent cross-contamination and can be disposed of after use.


Hair cover: The cap should be worn in this manner: unfold the hair cap, and then cover the front and back hairline, as well as above both ears to prevent hair from escaping.

 Shoe covers: Make certain that your feet are completely covered, and that the shoes fit closely around your ankle and calf.

Recommended Readings:

  1. PPE Definition and Meaning
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use in Standard Infection Control Precautions

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