Gowns vs Coveralls vs Protective Suits
What is the difference Gown, Coverall, Protective Suit?
Design of the Clothing: Gown vs Coverall
Employers should consider the garment design as part of their selection process. Unfortunately, no clinical studies have been done to compare the efficacy of gowns vs. coveralls. Both have been used effectively by healthcare workers in clinical settings during patient care. Thus, other factors need to be considered when comparing gowns and coveralls during the selection process. While the material and seam barrier properties are essential for defining protection, the coverage provided by the material used in the garment design, as well as certain features including closures, will greatly affect protection. For example, a coverall with a front zipper closure could result in the compromise of barrier protection if the ordinary cloth and plastic zipper used in its construction is not covered with a flap of barrier material that can be sealed to the garment. Similarly, most of the surgical gowns rated for high levels of barrier protection may include the high-performance barrier materials in only certain portions of the gown (sleeves and front panel). This is especially important when contact from hazardous/contaminated fluids can come from multiple directions.
In general, there is a significant difference between the design of traditional coveralls and isolation/surgical gowns. Although coveralls typically provide 360-degree protection because they are designed to cover the whole body, including back and lower legs and sometimes head and feet as well, the design of surgical/isolation gowns do not provide continuous whole-body protection (e.g., possible openings in the back, coverage to the mid-calf only)
Gowns, on the other hand, are relatively easier to put on and, in particular, to take off. They are generally more familiar to healthcare workers and hence more likely to be used and removed correctly. These factors also facilitate training in their correct use. During patient care, the risk of the anticipated exposure is typically in the area of front chest and sleeves, thus gowns are used frequently in health care. The level of heat stress generated due to the added layer of clothing is also expected to be less for gowns than coveralls due to several reasons, which include the openings in the design of gowns and total area covered by the fabric. For gowns, it is important to have sufficient overlap of the fabric so that it wraps around the body to cover the back (ensuring that if the wearer squats or sits down, the gown still protects the back area of the body).Critical Fabric and Clothing Properties