PPE recommendations for COVID-19

PPE recommendations for COVID-19

There has been much debate about which PPE works best, surgical mask or FFP3 mask, and how to increase protection for staff at greater risk because of their own co-morbidities. The heirarchy of control principle should apply. Isolating patients, including using shields over the patient’s head while intubating, then using full hood and respirator, and finally an appropriate mask. The surgical mask protects the patient from staff who are infected. The FFP3 mask protects staff from patients who are infected.

Consideration should be given to individual staff risk factors including underlying medical conditions and difficulty with mask seal, for example from a beard, or excessive sweating.

PHE have produced tables which summarise current recommendations as at 6th April 2020, see downloads below:

Secondary healthcare


Primary healthcare


Ambulance staff, first responders and pharmacists


Considerations in addition to standard prevention and control


Visual guide


Further discussion can be found on the link below:


Vulnerability levels

Very high (Red)

Risk of severe illness or death if contracts COVID-19. Read more

High (Orange)

Likely to need hospitalisation if contracts COVID-19, with protracted illness and heavy NHS burden. Read more

Increased/Moderate (Yellow)

Increased risk compared with healthy individual but should recover.

Low/Standard (Green)

No greater risk than healthy individual.