via University of Michigan
This easy, cheap fix could help people when and where N95 respirators are in short supply.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and when maximum protection is needed against air-born infections, the N95 respirator has remained the gold standard of personal protective equipment. However, it is also much more difficult to produce and obtain than a standard surgical mask.
But a recent study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that a simple modification to a surgical mask using rubber bands can improve its protective seal against particle exposure to the level of an N95 respirator.
To achieve N95-level protection, the respirators should demonstrate a minimum score of 100 on a standardized battery of tests – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s passing threshold – against the passage of particles that would potentially expose an individual to disease. Standard surgical masks are not as protective because they don’t seal around the wearer’s face, allowing particles to bypass the filter peripherally.
A research team led by a Michigan Medicine surgeon worked with 40 health care workers to test standard surgical masks modified with two 8-inch rubber bands over the crown of the subject’s head, bridge of the nose, around the cheeks and under the chin within the boundaries of the mask.
Thirty-one of the subjects, or 78%, had modified masks that passed a fit test with a score of greater than 100. The passing masks scored an average of 151, a significantly better fit than an unmodified surgical mask score of 3.8 but lower than a properly fitted N95 mask’s score of 199. By the last day of investigation, all of the modified masks passed the N95 threshold, suggesting that greater experience with the banding improved fit and performance.
This easy modification could address N95 respirator shortages worldwide and provide health care workers and individuals in under-resourced regions – or even in a resourced area like the U.S. when production demands can’t properly meet needs in a pandemic – a practical means for increased personal protection, said Jaimo Ahn, M.D., Ph.D., FACS, senior author of the paper and professor of orthopaedic surgery at University of Michigan Medical School.
“While not a vaccine, this approach emphasizes prevention rather than treatment,” Ahn said. “While not sophisticated, it has the potential to save lives and preserve wellness. Its effect will last as long as there are respiratory diseases and PPE demand exceeds supply. It is immediately impactful and sustainable, yet simple and cheap.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Safer surgical masks
- More N.J. hospitals return to masking amid COVID spike
More New Jersey hospitals are reinstating mask policies amid rising cases of COVID-19.
- Health workers warn loosening mask advice in hospitals would harm patients
Nurses, researchers and workplace safety officers worry new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might reduce protection against the coronavirus and other airborne pathogens ...
- With COVID cases rising in CT, here's what experts say about vaccines, masks, this winter and more
In recent weeks, Connecticut has once again seen an uptick in COVID, with hospital admissions rising and wastewater surveillance showing a bump in transmission. The increase arrives amid the spread of ...
- Counterfeit N95 and KN95 face masks: How can you spot fakes?
Even more than that, N95 is an official designation bestowed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health ... you loop around your ears (surgical masks) instead of around your ...
- Health workers warn loosening mask rules in hospitals will harm patients, providers
Cal/OSHA rules on protecting at-risk workers from infections might be at odds with the CDC if new mask proposals are adopted.
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- The truth about plastic (and why it's not as bad as you think)
Compostable options might seem like a sensible solution, but current recycling systems aren’t ... It’s hard not to wince at the thought of how many tons of single-use PPE the pandemic created. Little ...
- ICE envisions an unstoppable ‘life-of-loan’ platform with Black Knight acquisition
Having acquired Black Knight, ICE is confident in becoming a true life-of-loan platform. Here's what it means for the company's bottom line.
- State public housing director says old solutions won't fix housing crisis
After years of leaky ceilings at the state capital, repairs are finally underway on the 54-year-old building. The state Department of Education on Tuesday announced a new timeline for reopening ...
- Twiceme Releases Digital Platform for PPE
The platform, or the Help the Helpers (HTH) tool, still leverages the solution of integrated NFC technology in third-party protective equipment, but the functionalities connected to the tech have been ...
- The research on the Forestry PPE market enables clients to understand the analysis of this market based on several industry verticals.
Firstly, stringent regulatory norms and an increased focus on worker safety have compelled forestry organizations to invest in durable and reliable PPE solutions. Secondly, as the global forestry ...