Pandemic Preparedness• Preparing for pandemics and infection control
• Powered air-purifying respirators vs. N95 masks
• Bullard products for pandemic preparedness and infection control
• Swine flu (H1N1) pandemic has begun
Preparing for pandemics and infection control.
The possibility of widespread airborne infections is increasing with pandemic flu, SARs, TB, Bird Flu and other infectious diseases. In February 2007, OSHA released its Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic, which provides general guidance for all types of workplaces; describes the differences among seasonal, avian and pandemic influenza; and presents information on the nature of a potential pandemic, how the virus is likely to spread and how exposure is likely to occur. In healthcare facilities, OSHA states that surgical mask and respirator use is one component of a system of infection control practices to prevent the spread of infection between infected and non-infected persons where pandemic influenza patients might receive health care services (e.g., hospitals, emergency departments, out-patient facilities, residential care facilities, emergency medical services, home health care delivery). During an influenza pandemic, surgical masks and respirators-along with other forms of personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves, gowns, and goggles)-should be used by health care personnel in health care settings in conjunction with Standard and Droplet Precautions, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, vaccination, and early diagnosis and treatment.
Bullard Powered Air-Purifying Respirators meet OSHA’s recommendation for this use. Offering greater protection than N95 masks. The Bullard PA20 PAPR with a 20LFL loose fitting facepiece provides superior protection, comfort, and value for the infection control health care professional, while eliminating the need for expensive and time consuming fit testing.
Powered air-purifying respirators vs. N95 masks
OSHA describes the differences in popular respirators below:
Respiratory filtering devices that provide protection against inhalation of small and large airborne particles are called particulate respirators or air-purifying respirators. A particulate respirator is worn on the face and fits tightly to cover the nose and mouth.
Particulate respirators include the following:
- Disposable or filtering facepiece respirators are made of filter material designed to remove airborne particles. Disposable filtering facepiece respirators are discarded once they become unsuitable for further use because of soiling, contamination, or physical damage.
- Reusable or elastomeric respirators use replaceable filters. Elastomeric respirator facepieces can be cleaned, disinfected, and fitted with new filters for reuse. Such respirators typically have an exhalation valve and, when worn by an infected person, would not prevent transmission of virus to other persons.
- Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) use a battery-powered blower to provide filtered breathing air. PAPRs can be cleaned, disinfected, and fitted with new filters for re-use.
he respirators most commonly used in hospitals are:
- The N95 filtering facepiece respirator
- The powered air purifying respirator (PAPR)
- Fit closely to form a tight seal over the mouth and nose
- Must be fit-tested and adjusted to one’s face
- Must be safely removed and discarded
Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs). A powered air-purifying respirator uses its own power source and a HEPA (
high-efficiency particulate air) filter to provide the wearer with his or her own filtered air supply. Because a HEPA filter is as efficient
as a P-100 filter-and because PAPRs have less face-seal leakage-a PAPR provides a higher level of respiratory protection than a filtering facepiece or a half-mask elastomeric respirator.
Bullard products for pandemic preparedness
and infection control
Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) offer 150% more protection than N95 masks for airborne infections. The Bullard PA20 Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) with a 20LFL loose-fitting facepiece provides superior protection, comfort and value for the infection control health care professional.
Swine flu pandemic has begun, 1st in 41 years
GENEVA - The World Health Organization told its member nations it was declaring a swine flu pandemic Thursday - the first global flu epidemic in 41 years. In a statement sent to member countries, World Health Organization (WHO) said it decided to raise the pandemic warning level from phase 5 to 6 - its highest alert - after holding an emergency meeting on swine flu with its experts.
On Wednesday, WHO said 74 countries had reported nearly 27,737 cases of swine flu, including 141 deaths. The last pandemic - the Hong Kong flu of 1968 - killed about 1 million people. Ordinary flu kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people each year.
In the United States, where there have been more than 13,000 cases and at least 27 deaths from swine flu, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the move would not change how the U.S. tackled swine flu.
The U.S. government has already taken steps like increasing availability of flu-fighting medicines and authorizing $1 billion for the development of a new vaccine against the novel virus. In addition, new cases seem to be declining in many parts of the country, U.S. health officials say.
Health officials recommend people continue to take the same precautions to protect themselves against avian flu as they would from colds and other flu.
- Precautions include:
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
- Frequently washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer
- Staying home if you have a cough of fever
- Seeing your health care provider as soon as possible if you have a cough or fever and following their instructions as prescribed to get plenty of rest.
Sources: AOL News; Yahoo News; and the CDC.