H1N1 masks required in some emergency rooms - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/30/09

H1N1 masks required in some emergency rooms

Posted:

By Kristin Beerman | email

Edited by Jon Bush | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - World health officials including those at the CDC are now recommending a filtering face piece for health care workers who come in contact with infected patients.  A company called Alpha Pro Tec in Salt Lake City is working around the clock to make enough of those masks, called a N-95 mask.  They filter out most respiratory particles, making them more effective than a regular surgical mask.

Dr. Kenneth Shine, with the Institute of Medicine said, "These respirators can reduce infections in health care workers by as much as fifty to sixty percent."

However there is a problem, the report in the New England Journal of Medicine says since they fit so tight, workers tend to get tired of wearing them and may discard them over the course of their shift, especially when they have difficulty speaking through them.

Meanwhile, UMC is already pro-active about the value of face masks.  Officials there told us Wednesday they are providing them to anyone who comes into the hospital if they ask for a face mask and if anyone comes in with flu like symptoms, they must wear them.  Likewise, health care workers at UMC are already wearing masks if they are in an area where they may come in contact with patients with flu like symptoms.  Covenant is sticking to CDC guidelines and recommending masks for patients with flu like symptoms, but say it is not mandatory.

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