Consistent use of N95 respirators lowers risk of infection, study says

February 27, 2013

Sydney – Health care workers who consistently use respirators instead of surgical masks are twice as likely to avoid infection, concludes a new study from the University of New South Wales.

Researchers compared medical mask use, continuous N95 respirator use and N95 use only in high-risk procedures among nearly 1,700 doctors and nurses from 19 Beijing hospitals. They found continuous use of the N95 respirator had a protective effect against clinical respiratory and bacterial infections, whereas medical masks and targeted N95 use did not.

According to the study abstract, most policies for health care workers recommend use of medical masks alone or targeted respirator use.

The study was published online Feb. 14 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.