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A respirator is only as good as its fit

COVID-19 has introduced a range of new respirators. Holly Nickerson explains what you need to know.

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RespiratorsCOVID -19 has adjusted our daily workflows, both personally and professionally. Respiratory protection is now a critical component in caring for COVID-19 patients. Since the pandemic began, we have seen many changes in the styles, brands and types of respirators used at Asante.

What is a respirator?

The respirator is a personal protective device that covers at minimum the nose and mouth. These devices are used to reduce the risk of inhaling airborne particles that could be dangerous, such as gases, vapors, infectious agents and dust.

What types of respirators are at Asante?

    • Particulate-filtering facepiece respirators are the more commonly used. Asante uses the N95 disposable respirator.
    • Elastomeric respirators are newer to Asante and can be cleaned and reused. These respirators have filters that are discarded and replaced. See Asante’s policy.
    • Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR) or controlled air-purifying respirator (CAPR) are battery powered and provide a continues flow of purified air.

Users MUST be fit tested to any respiratory they use for patient care.

How do I know if I have been fit tested?

You may have a sticker on your badge or received the  handout with the specific respirator you have been tested to.

What if I don’t know what mask I am supposed to wear, or if the mask I’ve been tested for is not available on my unit?

If you are unsure of the N95 or alternative respirator you have been approved to wear, contact your supervisor. Asante Employee Health can perform fit testing for clinical users in designated units needing to wear respiratory protection. Our supply chain is constantly changing, and Asante is working hard to ensure there are enough respirators for units needing respiratory protection.

How do I conduct a user seal check?

Remember to conduct the user seal check every time you use a filtering facepiece respirator. See the CDC’s best-practice recommendations on seal check.

Document references for all PPE can be found on the COVID-19 info hub under Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

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