Mask Filtration Efficiency

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

In March 2020, the soaring number of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections resulted in an unprecedented shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinicians and essential health care workers. The shortage was most profound among N95 respirators, named for their ability to filter 95% or more of tiny 0.3 µm particles, and are considered the mainstay of …

Ties or Loops

Angie Szumlinski Studies

A study on the effectiveness of facemasks that was published in JAMA on November 23, 2020, was a little disturbing. When comparing a surgical mask with head ties vs a procedure mask with ear loops, there was a large difference in fitted filtration efficiencies (FFEs) (71.5% vs 38.1% respectively). Even more concerning, there was also a similar trend of poor …

Counterfeit Respirators / Misrepresentation of NIOSH-Approval

Angie Szumlinski Featured, Health

As more and more types of respirators are hitting the market to meet increased demand, counterfeit respirators are becoming a concerning issue. False marketing and deceitful labeling may entice customers to try a new brand that may not actually be providing appropriate protection. One major misrepresentation these respirators have is false NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approval. …

Mask Research

Angie Szumlinski News, Studies

N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) and surgical masks are essential in reducing airborne disease transmission, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, currently available FFR’s and masks have major limitations, including masking facial features, waste, and integrity after decontamination. Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been working to design a better, reusable respirator that could …

Reduce Skin Irritation – Face Masks?

Angie Szumlinski Featured, Health

Researchers from Imperial College London have investigated which products create the longest-lasting protective layer between PPE and skin. They custom-built a “tribometer” to assess friction and used it to test the friction between skin and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which is a common component of PPE. What they found was, the best lubricants were those that were not absorbed into the skin, …

Connecting Through the Mask

Angie Szumlinski Health

Living in the year of a pandemic has changed the way staff work with our residents. Although PPE such as face masks/shields, gowns, and gloves are essential in lessening the potential spread of COVID-19, it can leave residents and staff feeling “empty”. Many residents have voiced being lonely, sad, depressed, anxious, imprisoned, and disconnected from their loved ones. Staff have …

Yes – Another Mask Study

Angie Szumlinski Studies

In a study published in Nature Medicine, the researchers delimited three possible future scenarios of the course of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States at the state level: mandate-easing, plausible reference, and universal mask-use scenarios. These help frame and inform a national discussion on what actions could be taken during the fall of 2020 and the public health, economic …

It Is In The Air – Mask Up!

Angie Szumlinski Featured, Health

An interesting El Pais article discusses how the coronavirus may be spreading and statistically putting everyone at risk, especially with the holidays upon us! Here are a few facts that I found interesting! Social Gathering in a living room: Six people get together in a private home, one is infected. Some 31% of coronavirus outbreaks recorded in Spain are caused …

More Evidence For Masks

Angie Szumlinski Featured, Health, Studies

Randomized clinical trials of community mask use are challenging to conduct because of ethical and practical considerations. Observational studies have substantial limitations but can be instructive per an article published in the American Medical Association’s journal (JAMA) on October 26, 2020. To understand the rationale for mask-wearing to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission, it is helpful to understand how the virus spreads …

OSHA Compliant Respiratory Protection Program Requirements

Angie Szumlinski Health, News

When respirators, including PAPRs, are used to reduce inhalation exposures, OSHA requires a written respiratory protection program in compliance with OSHA 29CFR1910.134 and the respirators must be NIOSH-approved. To be considered NIOSH approved, the PAPR assembly cannot be modified from its approved configuration and only those replacement parts specified and provided by the manufacturer must be used. The manufacturer’s PAPR …