Droplets, secretions from the lungs, and touching surfaces that have been contaminated can all put health care workers at risk of getting different diseases. How to reuse medical gowns? Personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed to treat patients with coronavirus disease safely and effectively. But PPE shortages have had a significant effect on every medical facility. Outpatient clinics are especially at risk when medical supplies are in short supply. During the first stage of the pandemic, people tried to use less medicine and other medical supplies. Some advice and plans were made to limit the use of PPE, such as reusing it.
Even though these things have been said, the washing and reusing of isolation gowns have not really been pushed. Reusable products may also be better for the economy and the environment. We made a long-sleeved, 100% polyester, reusable, washable gown for adults that fits everyone and protects against liquids. The isolation gown can be worn repeatedly, even after being washed and disinfected. It can be washed in 80°C hot water for 10 minutes and/or soaked in 0.05–0.1% sodium hypochlorite for 30 minutes, then dried. Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation level 1 describes how well this new gown keeps liquids out.
How to reuse medical gowns?
This is true even after 20 low-cost uses. The risk of contamination should guide the choice of barrier level for gowns. But the health care setting for COVID-19 patients varies a lot, and its spread is not fully understood. The newly made reusable isolation gown can be used to treat COVID-19 patients, especially in low-risk settings where it is more cost-effective. Also, being ready to reuse things could be very important in times of extreme shortage. The focus of rethinking should be on reusable gowns that keep liquids out and how to use them right.
The risk of contamination should guide the choice of barrier level for gowns. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) sets the standards for how well protective clothing keeps liquids out and how to classify them. There are four levels of protection (5). Most of the time, healthcare workers who come into direct contact with blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials, like those found during surgery, need a higher level of barrier protection, such as AAMI levels 3-4 gowns.
However, AAMI levels 1-2 gowns may be used for healthcare workers with a low or minimal risk of exposure to bodily fluids. There are a lot of differences in how COVID-19 patients get care, and it’s not clear how the disease is spread. This seems to make healthcare workers at risk more likely to choose disposable products with a stronger liquid barrier over reusable clothing. Because traditional cotton clothing soaks up water, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that polyester or polyester-cotton fabrics, which can be made into waterproof items, could be reused. One clue for how medical isolation gowns can be used in the real world is if they have a liquid barrier performance with a guaranteed AAMI level.
When there was a severe lack of PPE, a company that usually makes school uniforms and wears (KANKO Co., Okayama, Japan) made an adult-sized, universally sized, long-sleeved, 100% polyester, reusable/washable medical isolation gown with liquid barrier protection. The isolation gown can be worn more than once, even after it has been washed and disinfected. It can be washed in 80°C hot water for 10 minutes and/or soaked in 0.05–0.1% sodium hypochlorite for 30 minutes and then dried (6). The Nissenken Quality Evaluation Center Co. in Tokyo, Japan, used an impact penetration test and a hydrostatic pressure test to test this new gown’s ability to keep liquids out. Even after 20 uses, washes, and disinfections, the gown passed at AAMI level 1. This gown can be used more than once. It costs about $3 per use ($50 for a gown that can be used 20 times, plus $0.5 for washing with sodium hypochlorite).
There are a lot of different prices for disposable gowns. In our medical settings, though, a long-sleeved assured AAMI level disposable gown costs $9 per use ($5 for one disposable gown and $4 for throwing it away as medical infectious waste). There may be problems with washing and disinfecting reusable gowns, which could put health care workers in danger and require more space for laundry. Even though we could confirm that these new reusable gowns are solid and provide good waterproof protection, cracks must be checked while washing. These gowns can be used more than once. They are used in outpatient clinics to care for SARS-CoV-2-positive patients who may have COVID-19 or have a low risk of fluid exposure.
The risks and levels of protection of the isolation gowns that COVID-19 patients need to be treated for should be looked into more. If isolation gowns are used correctly, it could be good for the economy and the environment. Also, being ready to reuse something could be very important in times of extreme shortage. The focus of rethinking should be on reusable gowns that keep liquids out and how to use them right.