As communities are learning to live in a world with novel virus circulating, personal protective equipment (PPE) is a required part of life outside of, and sometimes inside of, homes. That’s because of the role it plays in reining in the transmission of the virus.
At this point, you’re probably looking into your options for everyday PPE. You’re figuring out what you need and where you can source it from. If you don’t want to take resources from medical professionals, here are some places you can go to make your purchase.
Basic masks and masks with personality
Masks are one of the most basic — and most required — piece of PPE. In most cases, consumer-grade masks (as opposed to the N-95 variety for medical professionals) are all you need and are fairly easy to source. If your search starts online, it’s worth hitting up sites like Amazon.com or Finder.com first. At the time of publication, paper, disposable masks were available relatively cheaply on these sites and could be shipped without long wait times. Larger, washable masks cost a bit more and took longer to ship, but they were also available.
If you find that you need to have your mask within the same day, you may need to get one from a local retailer. Larger chain retailers like certain grocery stores, Target, and Walmart are doing their best to keep masks in stock. Call or do an online search first to verify that they’re there. While everyone is trying to stick closer to home, the last thing that anyone needs to do is to make an unnecessary trip out that doesn’t achieve its goal.
If you’re in the market for something with a little more flair than a paper mask, you can find washable masks in a range of fabric styles and colors. They can reference your favorite media personalities, include a message, or just have a pretty, color-coordinated pattern.
If you’re shopping online, a Google search should take you to multiple vendors and the online crafter’s store Etsy for all the options you’ll need. If you’d like to shop closer to home, there are a lot of community-based mask sources you can use. City, town, and other community-based social media pages show neighborhood mask makers that are available. You never know — one might even live down the block from you!
Though they’re not required, gloves are another component to basic PPE. If you’ve decided you’re going to use them, you’ll want to purchase inexpensive disposable gloves because you’ll find that you have to change them — a lot.
When you start your search for gloves online, one of the first places to look is Amazon.com. There are also a number of medical glove supply companies, though you’ll want to try to verify that supplies on these sites aren’t running low. If they are running low, consider skipping your purchase so you can leave them for medically-focused organizations like hospitals and nursing homes.
If you’re looking to pick up gloves the same day, larger retailers such as Target and Walmart may be a good source. Local drugstores or neighborhood branches of Walgreens and CVS may also have them available. Again, be sure to call before you head out to on your shopping trip so that you can be sure they’re in stock.
Face shields and coveralls
Most everyday consumers aren’t likely to find themselves in need of face shields and coveralls. These next-level PPE items are more typically needed by front-line healthcare professionals and nursing home workers. That’s because they’re dealing with potentially infected and contagious patients or with large groups of people who are at elevated risk of developing a life-threatening condition if they contract COVID-19.
It’s worth mentioning that there may be some reasons where you feel you need this higher degree of protection. Maybe you’re caring for someone at home who has contracted COVID-19 or you’re interacting with at-risk community members outside the home. Maybe you’re at risk but can’t stay at home.
If you strongly feel you need elevated PPE, there are places where you can obtain it. Again, start your search online, looking at all of the usual places. Face shields, face shield refills, and coveralls are all available on Amazon.com. You’re also going to find specific safety manufacturing supplies providers. As you purchase, be sure to review product details such as how likely a kind of face mask may be to prevent fogging, and what washing instructions are for coveralls so that they remain in good, usable condition.
Remember, don’t hoard supplies
Sure, COVID-19 concerns are real and the virus is scary. But if we’re all going to get through it, we need to remember that we’re in this together. A key part of that is being careful to take only what you need and to leave the rest for others who need it more or for a different reason. By taking what you need, you’re doing your part to keep everyone healthy.