Pandemic in the 21st century, and on a global level was something that no one could have predicted. Most of the countries are in a lockdown, and every aspect of our lives has changed. These unfortunate times can maybe offer something positive, and we are referring to the sense of community. Since the whole world is in the same boat, many people are volunteering their time and resources in order to help the most endangered groups. It is crucial to help in any way we can, from the smallest issues such as buying groceries for our elderly neighbours, to companies donating premises and medical equipment for the battle against our COVID enemy.
Since it is too late for prevention, we need to understand the risks completely and act responsibly for our own health, and the ones around us. The ideal version of these events could have happened if every country had every citizen tested, so the ones who are positive could have been isolated before endangering any other lives. But sadly, most of them were, and still are lacking both premises and resources when it comes to testing kits, medical supplies and other safety equipment for the bravest ones who are directly involved in the battle.
We’ve heard about hotels and other larger centres giving rooms to either doctors and other medical staff brought from out of town, and unfortunately, rooms for isolation for the infected patients. Hospitals are improvising greatly and trying to do everything in their power, but the vast majority was simply not ready for this. The importance of proper equipment is clear, and the reasons as well, whatever is necessary not to spread the disease further. That is why all the relevant parties need to get involved, especially private laboratories, whose equipment can increase the percentage of saved lives.
When it comes to preserving and conserving any substance used in health care, the most vital feature is no doubt a laboratory refrigerator. It is used for keeping all the medicines that need to be stored on certain low temperatures, as well for the samples before the analysis. Proper storing of chemicals and pharmaceuticals is the most valuable aspect for them to work as they are supposed to. For the current situation, it is especially relevant for a laboratory to own a vaccine refrigerator which is used specifically for COVID vaccines that will (hopefully) arrive soon. We should not risk any dosage going to waste since we are talking about human lives.
For the optimal results, it is recommended to set the temperature for the specific vaccine, and not mix any other samples or supplies. The shortage of vaccines and pharmaceuticals is already damaging the course of dealing with a pandemic, so we must try to be the most precocious versions of ourselves these days.
Personal protective gear
It is of utmost importance that we protect the medical staff while they are dealing with infected patients. Putting them to risk is not an option! So, we’ll start from the personal equipment that every laboratory needs. First of all, every health care worker needs to be equipped with a proper medical or surgical mask while dealing with patients. It is an absolute must for them to have their mouth and nose covered at all times.
When it comes to another part of head hygiene, besides the mentioned, any health care worker needs to have safety goggles, in order to cover their eyes. There are numerous variations but essentially, in this case, they would require the ones designed to completely cover your top half of the head, in order to protect them against the physical impact, as well as chemical spills. Furthermore, hand hygiene has never seemed so important. This is why the hand sanitizers should be available in all the rooms. Besides the prevention with sanitizers and regularly washing their hands, while dealing with patients all staff is required to have protective gloves! Another important factor is, of course, a lab coat or a gown, in case of any dangerous spills not to end up on workers’ skin.
There are some extra steps for those who are dealing with the most endangered ones, who are on breathing respirators and in the worst stages when it comes to contamination. It is highly recommended for all the staff to wear N95 respirator masks, instead of the surgical ones. Any other improvement in terms of non-disposable equipment is desirable for the rigorous prevention of spreading the disease.
In such a hectic environment, a lot of unpredictable things can happen. This is why it is essential to be prepared in case an accident happens. We’ve mentioned the protective gear, but when it comes to life and death situation, saving the patient will be a priority for the health care workers. For this reason, every laboratory needs to be equipped with at least two emergency stations – an eyewash one, and the showers.
In case an accident happens, and some hazardous chemical or a piece of glass, for example, has come into the contact with an individual’s skin, or even worse, their eyes, these are a necessity before seeking further medical attention. Eyewash stations are specifically designed to have a low pressure which cannot damage your eyes, and they will need a 15-minute treatment to try to get the most of it out. If the spill was bigger, an individual needs to thoroughly shower also for a while. Some other solutions can be helpful, for example, personal eyewash units, which can help reducing the damage until the person reaches the first available station. These are basically bottles, designed in a way to be flushing both eyes at the same time.
We cannot prevent the pandemic, but we can lower the risks and do what we can to overcome this obstacle as soon as it is possible. What we can prevent is endangering more lives by being reckless. The situation is developing fast and the number of casualties is devastating, but we must look ahead and fight together. This is not a time to act in a rebellious manner, but rather follow every advice stated by the World Health Organization. Hospitals and laboratories are doing the damage control, but they need to follow the regulations as well, in order to preserve the health of their employees. If you can, stay home, stay safe! If you’re a medical worker, thank you!