Authors: Annie Jafri BSc, Anmol Mann BSc
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in widespread use of personal protective equipment (PPE) among healthcare workers. However, there are challenges to using standardized PPE, especially in the context of a diversifying society. This commentary discusses religious, racial, and ethnic barriers to comfortable and safe use of PPE. The objective is to raise awareness for these challenges that will prompt considerations for possible evidence-based solutions. Challenges around finding PPE that is effective but accommodates religious symbols such as hijabs, turbans, and facial hair are discussed. This commentary also describes the negative impacts of limited PPE suitable for diverse populations. Some of the available resources for healthcare workers are explored, as well as several solutions around PPE placement, sizing, and supply. Overall, more research is required, especially given that PPE is now commonplace outside of hospitals and widely used in the public.
Keywords: personal protective equipment, diversity, religious differences, individual fit