Respiratory Personal Protective Equipment


Respiratory Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Protective Devices, Respiratory PPE, Face Mask, Surgical Face Mask, N95 Mask, Chemical Defense Mask, M40 Mask, Air-Purifying Respirator, Powered Air Purifying Respirator, PAPR

  • Preparations
  • Surgical Face Mask
  1. Description
    1. Disposable, loose fitting physical barrier between the wearer's mouth and nose and the patient
    2. Some masks are also available with a Face Shield to protect the mid-face and eyes
    3. Blocks large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays or splatter (and the infectious agents they harbor)
  2. Indications
    1. Personal Protective Equipment during patient care (standard protection from low level exposure to body fluids)
    2. Sterile procedures (e.g. surgery) to protect the patient from the operating staff's oral and nasal secretions
  3. Limitations
    1. Does not filter small, aerosolized particles (e.g. cough, sneeze transmitted highly infectious agents)
    2. No significant protection against most toxins due to the loose fit
  • Preparations
  • N95 Mask
  1. Description
    1. Single-use, disposable, tightly fitting Face Mask offers protection against airborne particles
    2. Blocks small aerosolized particles, in addition to large particles, splashes and spray
    3. N95 Masks filter >=95% of particles <5 µm diameter
  2. Indications
    1. Protection against contagious, small aerosolized infectious agents (e.g. pandemic Influenza)
  3. Precautions
    1. Adequate respirator mask protection assumes that it is donned correctly and it is worn throughout contact exposure
    2. Mask must fit snugly without gaps (FIT testing needed)
  4. Limitations
    1. Requires special FIT Testing
    2. Not oil resistant
    3. Not designed for children or those with significant facial hair (beard)
    4. May be contraindicated in those with chronic lung disease (e.g. COPD or Severe Asthma)
    5. Not designed for toxin exposures ("hot zone") vapors or gases
      1. See Personal Protective Equipment
  • Preparations
  • Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR)
  1. Description
    1. Reusable battery-powered PPE device with HEPA Filters that are 99.97% effective against 0.3 micron particles
    2. Powered blower forces air through filter canisters and into an enclosed helmet, hood or Face Mask worn by user
  2. Indications
    1. Protection against dangerous, contagious, small aerosolized infectious agents (e.g. Ebola)
    2. Alternative device to N95 Mask for those who cannot adequately be fit (e.g. beard)
  3. Limitations
    1. Complicates the process of Donning and Doffing Personal Protection Equipment
    2. PAPR is reusable and requires careful cleaning procedures
    3. Interferes with communication
    4. Unable to use Stethoscope (no ear access in hood or helmet)
  • Preparations
  • M40 Mask (Chemical Defense Mask)
  1. Description
    1. Full face respirator
    2. External filter canister
      1. HEPA filter
      2. ASZ charcoal impregnated
  2. Indications
    1. Protects face and respiratory tract
    2. Volatile agents and aerosols
    3. Removes biological and toxin agents
  3. Limitations
    1. Does not protect in close space with Oxygen <19.5%
    2. Substances not filtered
      1. Ammonia
      2. Carbon Monoxide
      3. Nitric oxide
      4. Carbon dioxide
  • Prevent
  1. Mask Irritation
    1. Consider barrier cream (e.g. Desitin) at areas of pressure and irritation (e.g. bridge of nose, ears)
    2. Consider mask string holder that pulls the mask strings off the ears
    3. Consider Wound Dressing (e.g. Duoderm) in areas of pressure
    4. Consider topical irritant or allergans in the mask (e.g. latex)
    5. (2020) Presc Lett 27(6):31-2