Selection Guide for Protective Suits
Considerations for Selecting Protective Clothing used in Healthcare for Protection against Microorganisms in Blood and Body Fluids
Healthcare workers can be exposed to biological fluids that are capable of transmitting diseases. Those diseases, which are caused by a variety of microorganisms such as, Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Ebola Virus, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can pose significant risks to life and health. Healthcare workers wear protective clothing (e.g., surgical gowns, isolation gowns, and coveralls) to protect both patients and themselves from the transfer of microorganisms by blood and body fluids. A common misunderstanding among many end users is that they are protected from blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials when they wear any type of fluid-resistant garment. This document provides an overview of scientific evidence and information on national and international standards, test methods, and specifications for fluid-resistant and impermeable gowns and coveralls used in healthcare. This document focuses on selecting protective clothing primarily on the basis of their barrier properties; it does not address all aspects of garments related to their design, integrity, durability, comfort, and functionality.