In the last month, the COVID-19 pandemic has flipped our country on its head. Businesses are shutting their doors, families are sheltering in place, and our fearless health-care workers are heading into a battlefield every day.

COVID-19, also referred to as the novel coronavirus, first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and has spread across the globe in the last four months. With cases now exceeding the million mark, the health-care industry is overwhelmed with new patients daily. As hospitals are inundated with coronavirus patients, supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) have dwindled.

iPromo has taken notice and taken action. We’re proud to now offer certified face masks and other lifesaving PPE supplies that health-care workers, essential business owners, and government agencies need in our iHealth line of products.

How COVID-19 Impacted PPE Supplies

As coronavirus cases increased across the country, fear and panic led American citizens to stockpile face masks and other essential PPE supplies, and manipulative opportunists have taken to price gouging.

The opportunists who hoarded these coronavirus relief supplies then turned around to resell them at significant markups, which led online marketplaces to ban sales of these products — whether sellers were legitimate or not.

Unfortunately, as the public has purchased face masks in bulk and marketplaces have shut down sales of these products, health-care professionals and essential service workers are left without.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released interim guidance for the rational use of personal protective equipment for COVID-19:

“Based on the available evidence, the COVID-19 virus is transmitted between people through close contact and droplets, not by airborne transmission. The people most at risk of infection are those who are in close contact with a COVID-19 patient or who care for COVID-19 patients (WHO, February 27, 2020).”

PPE is used by health-care personnel to protect themselves, patients, and others when providing care to those affected by this pandemic. Coronavirus PPE can help prevent the spread of this terrible disease. PPE shortages are proving to be a disastrous challenge for U.S. health-care facilities, government agencies, and essential service businesses.

As health-care and essential business workers across the country beg their hospitals, local governments, and president for more protective equipment, honest manufacturers and distributors are scrambling to meet demand in this unprecedented situation.

iPromo has answered this call. Thanks to our longstanding relationships with foreign vendors, we’ve been able to completely shift our strategy to ensure our nation’s health-care workers, essential service businesses, and government agencies have the coronavirus relief supplies they need to protect themselves.

Our owner, Leo Friedman, spent endless nights speaking with our suppliers, working on switching our supply chain from promotional products to hand sanitizer, face masks, digital thermometers, and other crucial certified COVID-19 PPE products.

We’ve started iHealth, transitioning from our traditional offerings of branded merchandise to securing critical health products and medical supplies for health-care workers in our home city of Chicago and across our great nation.

How PPE Supplies Help in the Battle Against COVID-19

Coronavirus PPE supplies are essential for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. COVID-19 symptoms overlap with other health conditions, such as the flu, common cold, and allergies. The most common symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

Source: WHO

In rare cases, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or death. COVID-19 protective gear can help prevent the spread of infectious particles, helping curb this pandemic’s growth.

Ensuring health-care workers and essential business owners have access to protective personal equipment is mission critical, and we are proud to play our part in this effort. We are committed to providing necessary health products at fair prices, no price gouging, no false promises.

As we process orders, health-care services, government agencies, and essential services are given first priority.

Finding COVID-19 PPE Supplies

Personal protective equipment is limited in the United States and it can be difficult to track down the essentials. We’re proud to offer necessary health-care products needed for health-care professionals and essential service businesses who need them.

See the list below to determine which coronavirus PPE items we currently have available, along with updated delivery windows:

Note: Speed of delivery varies on air cargo availability and quantity ordered due to extreme demand for essential PPE supplies. Rely on our 20 years of international sourcing expertise to deliver for you as fast as possible. Please reach out to our team with any questions about delivery windows.

Our guiding principle: No price gouging. Transparency is paramount; because the cost of shipping makes up the bulk of total expense, you can review our hand sanitizer options to be shipped by sea or air, so that you understand exactly where the cost originates.

PPE Tips: Testing Your Face Mask

Before wearing your respirator face mask, it’s important to know that it’s reliable. While most don’t have access to lab-level testing equipment, you can apply OSHA’s N95 quality standards to KN95 face masks. The following three tests can help you verify the quality of your face mask within 10 seconds:

Test No. 1: Lighter

  1. Put on your face mask
  2. Hold your lighter six inches from your mouth, then activate 3.Blow on the flame and try to extinguish it

Results: If you cannot blow out the flame, your mask is certified. If you are able to blow out the flame, the mask is of poor quality.

Why it matters: Certified lab-tested KN95 masks are made of strong, full-mesh nylon which meets strict standards for inspiratory and expiratory resistance. The material should obstruct airborne contagions during inhalation and exhalation without reducing air circulation.

Test No. 2: Sweet ‘N Low

  1. Put on your face mask
  2. Empty a packet of Sweet N’ Low onto a spoon or flat surface
  3. Try sniffing with the mask on and the mask off, noting any difference

Results: If you can barely detect a sweet scent, your mask is of high quality. If you can still smell the Sweet N’ Low completely, it’s a poor-quality mask.

Why it matters: A certified lab tested KN95 mask is designed to filter out at least 95 percent of particles sized 3 microns or larger. Sweet N’ Low is made up of saccharin, which has particles of 7 microns in size. If you’re able to smell Sweet N’ Low through your mask, it’s not filtering well.

Test No. 3: Water

  1. Hold your face mask by the elastic bands, with the inside of the mask facing up
  2. Fill the mask with water

Results: If the mask cups the water with zero leakage, it’s of high quality. If water leaks, the quality is low.

Why it matters: Certified masks feature a waterproof layer to protect the wearer from biological fluids. OSHA says that your mask can be washed for reuse if it “maintains its structural and functional integrity and the filter material is not physically damaged or soiled.”

Learn more about the above KN95 face mask tests.

If you’re not in the medical industry and want to find DIY alternatives so that lifesaving COVID-19 PPE supplies go to our hardworking health-care workers, here are a few resources:

Helping Our Communities: Donating COVID-19 PPE Supplies

If you find yourself with more COVID-19 protective gear than you need, donation is key.

We are so grateful to the hardworking healthcare and essential business owners working tirelessly to keep our world turning. To show our thanks and help with the fight against the coronavirus, we are donating lifesaving face masks to local hospitals. Thus far, we’ve donated medical supplies to:

  • Northwestern Hospital
  • Chicago Police Department
  • NorthShore Skokie Hospital
  • Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
  • Children’s Wisconsin-Michigan
  • Northwest Community Hospital

During this time of uncertainty, we must all come together for the greater good. If you have access to medical supplies or would like to purchase PPE supplies for donation, see these guidelines from “The Wall Street Journal”, and check out these donation requests from hospitals across the country:

Check out

iPromo in the news

and learn how we’re working to help our country in this time of need.

At iPromo, our current mission is to deliver high-quality COVID-19 protective gear as quickly as possible to health-care systems, government agencies, and essential service businesses that need to stay open and interact with the public. Give us a call today to place an order for these lifesaving supplies.

This content is made possible by our sponsors; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of e.Republic’s editorial staff.