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ViraxCare Answers the UKs Most Pressing Covid-19 'Back to Work' Questions Part 2

ViraxCare Answers the UKs Most Pressing Covid-19 'Back to Work' Questions Part 2

Here at ViraxCare our expert team is focussed on getting you and your staff back to work as efficiently and safely as possible. In doing so we have been asked many questions by employers and employees. In our blog posts we are going to use our expert team of scientists to get to the bottom of all of these and hopefully provide clinical guidance to those seeking a way out of the pandemic and back to the office. 
 
Should workplaces provide PPE for staff?
 
In accordance with the UK government Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, ‘employers shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work’. The novel coronavirus has proven to be a significant risk to health and safety, therefore there should be provisions in place to protect employees by providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and training staff in its correct usage. Employees should be encouraged to wear PPE in the workplace and on the route to work, wherever there is a risk of coronavirus transmission. 
 
Are viruses worse in the winter? 
 
In countries with temperate climates there is a sharp rise in respiratory infections during the winter months. Viruses can survive better in the dry air caused by indoor heating and people are more likely to be crowded into indoor areas during the winter, both of these factors increase the chance of viral transmission. Other viral diseases such as flu or the common cold are more prevalent at this time, so there is more chance of co-infection with coronavirus and another virus. This could negatively affect the body’s ability to deal with the coronavirus infection and lead to worse outcomes from the disease. Our mucous membranes that line the throat, nose and lungs dry out in heated indoor air making them more susceptible to viral attack. Immune cells in these areas of the body are also sluggish to respond in cold weather, allowing viral invaders to take hold. The amount and strength of sunshine exposure is also reduced in the winter months. UV-C rays have been proven to kill coronavirus ond levels in the sun’s rays are far lower in winter. The body produces vitamin D in response to sunlight, this hormone is crucial to an effective immune response so depletion in the winter can affect the ability to fight infections. 
 
What is considered PPE in office? 
 
The primary PPE that should be worn in an office environment is a medical grade N95/FFP2 or surgical mask. Disposable gloves and face shields may also be worn if desired. 
 
What are the different types of PPE?
 
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is anything that can be worn to protect the user against risks to health and safety. Regarding protection from Covid-19, PPE items can include masks, face shields, goggles/eye protection, gloves, gowns/hooded gowns and shoe coverings. All of these items will not be required for protection in all environments, with many being needed only in healthcare settings or in areas of high risk of infection. It is however advisable to wear masks in any indoor areas, toilets and where social distancing is not possible.
 
What must employers know about PPE? 
 
Employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe, and the novel coronavirus is a significant risk to their safety. Employers should seek out medical grade PPE for their staff, this can consist of N95/FFP2 or surgical masks, gloves and face shields. Education should be provided to staff on how to use PPE and how to achieve the correct, safe fit of all equipment. Correct disposal practices for all PPE should be followed, and cleaning procedures or fresh PPE should be undertaken or supplied periodically.
 
If you have any more questions feel free to Ask our Doctor
Here the ViraxCare team answers the most pressing PPE questions including: Should workplaces provide PPE for staff?, 
Are viruses worse in the winter?, What is considered PPE in office?, What are the different types of PPE?, What must employers know about PPE? 

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