Reliability of N95 respirators for respiratory protection before, during, and after nursing procedures

Kwai Ping Lorna Suen, Lin Yang, Suki S.K. Ho, Keith H.K. Fung, Maureen V. Boost, Sau Ting Cynthia Wu, Cypher H. Au-Yeung, Margaret May O'Donoghue

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background The adequate fit of an N95 respirator is important for health care workers to reduce the transmission of airborne infectious diseases in the clinical setting. This study aimed to evaluate whether adequately sealed N95 respirators may provide consistent protection for the wearer while performing nursing procedures. Methods Participants were a group of nursing students (N = 120). The best fitting respirator for these participants was identified from the 3 common models, 1860, 1860S, and 1870+ (3M), using the quantitative fit test (QNFT) method. Participants performed nursing procedures for 10-minute periods while wearing a backpack containing the portable aerosol spectrometers throughout the assessment to detect air particles inside the respirator. Results The average fit factor of the best fitting respirator worn by the participants dropped significantly after nursing procedures (184.85 vs 134.71) as detected by the QNFT. In addition, significant differences in particle concentration of different sizes (>0.3, >0.4, >1.0, and >4.0 µm) inside the respirator were detected by the portable aerosol spectrometers before, during, and after nursing procedures. Conclusions Body movements during nursing procedures may increase the risk of face seal leakage. Further research, including the development of prototype devices for better respirator fit, is necessary to improve respiratory protection of users.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-978
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Volume45
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Mask fit
  • N95 respirator
  • Nursing
  • Quantitative fit test
  • Respiratory protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this