Respiratory protection Health care/social assistance

Infection-control association offers ‘do’s and don’ts’ on masks, respirators

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Photo: Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

Washington – The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology has released two fliers for health care workers on proper use of procedure masks and N95 respirators.

The resources provide do’s and don’ts for wearing both protective equipment in non-surgical situations.

Procedure masks – also known as isolation masks – shield users from potentially infectious droplets. The flier includes the following guidance:

  • Wear the mask to protect against infectious droplets from patients who sneeze, cough, laugh or talk.
  • Take off the mask after leaving the clinical area and after care is complete.

N95 respirators are tight masks intended to offer a higher level of protection than procedure masks by shielding users from tiny particles in the air, such as chickenpox and measles. The guidance includes:

  • Ensuring the mask completely covers the mouth and nose
  • Touching only the respirator’s straps when removing and disposing of it

APIC’s Communications and Practice Guidance committees created the fliers with assistance from the American Nurses Association, the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare, and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.