Filtration Efficiency of Hospital Face Mask Alternatives Available for Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Infectious Diseases | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

Question: How effective are the aerosol filtration efficiencies for fitted face mask alternatives used during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic?

Findings: In this quality-improvement study of 29 fitted face mask alternatives, expired N95 respirators with intact elastic bands and masks that had been subjected to ethylene oxide and hydrogen peroxide sterilization had unchanged fitted filtration efficiencies (FFEs) of more than 95%, while the performance of N95 respirators in the wrong size resulted in decreased FFEs between 90% and 95%. As a group, surgical and procedure masks had lower FFEs relative to N95 respirators, with masks secured with elastic ear loops showing the lowest performance.

Meaning: When new N95 respirators are unavailable, N95 respirators past their expiration date; sterilized, used N95 respirators; and other less common respirators can be acceptable alternatives.

Source: Filtration Efficiency of Hospital Face Mask Alternatives Available for Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Infectious Diseases | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

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