Since resuming routine care, some dental assistants as well as other health care providers, have reported that they are facing a new set of challenges since they have adapted to wearing personal protective equipment additional lengths in time.
The feeling of panic, difficult breathing and profuse sweating was one comment I heard. Some dental professionals who are now wearing multiple layers at one time are truly having a difficult time: surgical masks, respirator masks, and face shields can cause overheating. If you are experiencing any of these, try to take short breaks throughout the day so you can remove your PPE and get a breath of fresh air.
Headaches can be another side effect due to increased additional PPE. This could be a sign of dehydration. Take time to drink enough fluids at every opportunity. You might also consider limiting sugary beverages and caffeine drinks which can also contribute to dehydration. Maybe fresh fruits or frozen fruit slices at your lunch break could help keep you cool and hydrated.
Have you noticed more facial breakouts lately? If so, you are not alone. Constant rubbing of the mask against the skin can cause small ulcers and acne. Micro-tears allow the entry of dirt and bacteria into the pores. Experts recommend washing with a gentle cleanser and the use of a fragrance free moisturizer, especially at the pressure points.
If the pandemic continues and dental teams continue to adapt to recommended changes, perhaps a staff meeting would be helpful to discuss the challenges, especially those that cause physical discomfort related to PPE, and work together to implement solutions.