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Personal Protective Equipment: Dietary Challenges toward Optimal Hydration and Nutrition during Use
The wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential during the care of a patient positive or suspected for coronavirus disease 2019, as the transmission is mainly through the respiratory route or contact with infected secretions or droplets. A practical concern that has emerged over the last few weeks has been the performance of duties for long hours donning the PPE. The customary clinical and laboratory shifts are 6 to 8 hours, a period often quoted that of an endless hunger and thirst. Energy and hydration during this shift are an issue as the PPE precludes any intake once donned, until doffing. In high-intensity workplaces such as intensive care units, improper nutrition and hydration can affect decision-making. Being at the forefront of caring for these patients, good immunity is essential, too. In endurance workouts such as long distance running and cycling, a rigorous routine to achieve optimal nutrition, maintain hydration, and develop immunity through diet is often resorted to. An approach of similar nature can help during the long duty hours with PPE.
The human body is alkaline and maintains a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. The pH of the body is influenced by any food or liquid intake. Like many food items containing large amounts of nitrogen, chlorine, and phosphorus (such as meats), which tend to be acidic, the food we consume can be modified to make it alkaline. Foods rich in calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium (e.g., leafy greens) tend to be alkaline forming. Lemon, despite being acidic (pH 2.0), has an alkaline effect on the body. The stress of the current pandemic, uncertain times added to the duty, can lead to unhealthy eating habits, further affecting overall health. Attention to adequate hydration, diet, and intake of immunity building nutrition is fundamental.
Article published online:
28 May 2021
© 2021. Indian Society of Medical and Paediatric Oncology. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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