Useful Information on Earloop Face Mask & Surgical Mask
A Earloop Face Mask, also known as a surgical mask or procedure mask, is intended to be worn by health professionals during surgery and during nursing to catch the bacteria shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the wearer's mouth and nose. Its first recorded use was by the French surgeon Paul Berger during an 1897 operation in Paris.
Simple surgical masks protect wearers from being splashed in the mouth with body fluids and to prevent transmission of body fluids from the medical professional to the patient. They also remind wearers not to touch their mouth or nose, which could otherwise transfer viruses and bacteria after having touched a contaminated surface (fomite). They can also reduce the spread of infectious liquid droplets (carrying bacteria or viruses) that are created when the wearer coughs or sneezes. They are not designed to protect the wearer from inhaling airborne bacteria or virus particles. They will trap some particles but are less effective than respirators, which are designed for this purpose.
Modern surgical masks are made from paper or other non-woven material and should be discarded after each use.
Surgical masks are also popularly worn by the general public in East Asian countries to reduce the chance of spreading airborne diseases; in Japan, it is common to wear a face mask whilst ill to avoid infecting others in public settings. Surgical masks were widely used in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Toronto, Canada during outbreaks of the SARS virus, during the 2007 bird flu pandemic in Japan, and in the United States and Mexico City during the 2009 flu pandemic featuring swine flu and the H1N1 virus. They are also worn by people in dusty environments such as sanitation workers.
In higher risk environments, N95 or NIOSH masks may be used in place of surgical masks as they provide better protection due to their shape and securing straps.
Evidence supports their effectiveness in reducing the risk of infection among other healthcare workers and in the community.
Safety guidelines for healthcare workers recommend the wearing of a face-fit tested respirator mask conforming to United States standard NIOSH N95 or European standard EN 149 FFP3 in the vicinity of pandemic-flu patients, to reduce the exposure of the wearer to potentially infectious aerosols and airborne liquid droplets.
An ATOMO Dental earloop face mask. The design of the earloop face mask depends on the mode; usually the masks are 3 ply/3 layers. This 3 ply material is made up from a melt blown placed between non-woven fabric, the melt-blown material acts as the filter that stops microbes from entering or exiting the mask. Most surgical masks feature pleats/folds commonly 3 pleated are used allowing the user to expand the mask so it covers from the nose and under the chin. Currently there are 3 different ways to secure the masks. The most popular is the ear loop; this is where a string like material is attached to the mask and placed behind the ears. The other methods are the tie on and the head band. The tie on straps consists of four non-woven straps that are tied behind the head and the elastic strap is similar to an elastic band that is placed behind the head.
During the 1918 flu pandemic, a street car conductor in Seattle, USA refuses a person who attempts to board without wearing a mask.
In community settings, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its guidance regarding the 2009 swine flu outbreak, the use of facemask must be coupled with other measures such as avoiding close contact and maintaining good hand hygiene to reduce the risk of getting influenza.
Cotton and gauze masks are also available but they do not serve as surgical masks as they do not offer adequate filtration of microbes. Some people wear these over a normal surgical mask as they often feature patterns and designs that are more attractive and fashionable.
2. Specification of a high quality ear loop face mask made by ATOMO Dental:
- Exceeds ASTM 2100 industry standard, BFE ≥99%, PFE ≥99%
- Type IIR EN14683 certified, Latex free, Fiber Glass free
- Inner layer: soft, special designed material to reduce skin irritation and allergic reaction
- Filter: highest quality filter media for best ASTM rating, filtration and breathability
- Outer layer: added protection with unique material for maximum fluid resistance / protection against body fluids
- Ideal for oral exams and procedures involving high levels of spray, spatter, moisture and airborne particles. Perfect for ultrasonic scalers, high-speed aerosols, air polishers and oral surgeries
- Fog free. Latex free. Odorless.
|MEETS OR EXCEEDS ALL ASTM 2100 LEVEL-2 CRITERIA:|
|Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE):||BFE @ 3.0um large bacteria ≥ 99%|
|Differential Pressure (ΔP):||ΔP < 5.0mm of H2O/cm²|
|Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE):||PFE @ 0.1um large latex particles ≥ 99%|
|Fluid Resistance:||Resistant @160mmHg|
|Textile Flammability:||Class I flame spread|
3. Basic knowledge of INFECTION PREVENTION:
Everyone staying, visiting, or working in a health care facility is at risk of acquiring an infection, but patients are at greatest risk for HAIs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.7 million Americans acquire an HAI each year, and the infection kills about 99,000.
Infection control precautions are key to protecting both you and your patient from HAIs. Examples of infection control precautions include using personal protective equipment (PPE), decontaminating the environment through disinfection and cleaning procedures, conducting surveillance to identify new cases of disease, and isolating patients with infectious diseases. Focusing on how the disease is transmitted will help you determine the correct measures to use.
Infectious diseases can be spread through respiratory droplets (large, heavy drops of moisture containing millions of bacteria and viruses and released from the respiratory tract via the nose or the mouth), airborne particles, environmental sources, or person-to-person contact. Your facility has a policy that you are obligated to follow for infectious patients.
In this article, I'll focus on the essentials of PPE, including how to properly put it on and remove it safely.
Personal protective equipment is gear designed to protect the wearer from exposure to microorganisms. Examples of PPE include gloves, gowns, goggles, face shields, masks, and respirators. Choose PPE based on the procedure you're performing and the mode of transmission of potential pathogens. For example, if you're performing tasks in which you expect hand exposure to any body fluid—when changing dressings or inserting an intravenous (I.V.) catheter, for example—you should wear gloves. If you expect splashing or spraying, such as when you empty a urine collection bag, you should wear a gown, gloves, and protective eyewear.
Always assume that your patient's body fluids may be infectious, regardless of his known or suspected infection status. For a more in-depth look at standard precautions, see What's the standard?
Although there are times when PPE is mandatory, such as wearing a mask for patients on respiratory droplet precautions, you can use PPE any time you feel you're at risk for an exposure. For example, if a patient presents with coughing and fever, you should place a mask on the patient and yourself when you're in the same room until a diagnosis is made. Early use of a mask will protect you and others.
Different diseases or pathogens require different types of PPE based on how the pathogen is transmitted. This can range from using gloves only to wearing full PPE. For most patients, when the potential for splashing of blood or body fluids isn't present, routine use of gloves and hand hygiene, along with the occasional use of goggles or a face shield if necessary, will be sufficient to protect you from infection. For some patients and some procedures, though, you'll need to wear additional PPE; for example, when performing suctioning or when providing personal care for an incontinent patient.
Hospital isolation precaution categories—contact, droplet, and airborne precautions—are also based on transmission routes (see Know your categories). Some diseases require more than one category of isolation precautions and multiple kinds of PPE for each patient encounter. For example, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) requires contact precautions with gown and gloves, airborne precautions with an N95 respirator, and the use of a face shield. For a list of the PPE required for each category of isolation precautions, see Which PPE is needed?
If you're not sure what PPE you need for a specific situation, refer to your facility's policy and procedure manual. The amount and type of PPE you need affects the order in which you put on the gear.
Don PPE in the following order before you have any contact with the patient:
Let's take a closer look at each type of protection.
A gown should cover you from neck to trunk as well as the full length of your arms. The opening of the gown should always be in the back. Securely tie the gown at your neck and waist to make sure it doesn't slip down during patient care. If that were to happen, you could accidentally contaminate your clothing or skin by pulling up the gown with contaminated hands or gloves. Also, use a new gown every time you enter the patient's room, and discard it as you leave the room. Never wear a contaminated gown into another patient's room or to the nurses' station; you could spread pathogens around the entire facility.
Use a mask for all patients with diseases that are spread via respiratory droplets. Because respiratory droplets are heavy, they can't remain airborne. They settle quickly to the ground, falling within about 3 feet of the patient. If you're within that 3-foot radius when the patient sneezes or coughs, you can inhale the particles. Wearing a mask prevents you from inhaling the particles and becoming infected.
To put on a mask, place it over your nose, mouth, and chin. Fit the flexible nose piece to the bridge of your nose before tying the mask in back. Then secure the ties at the middle of your head and neck. Use a new mask every time you enter the patient's room, and discard it as you leave the room.
Use a respirator for patients with diseases like tuberculosis (TB) that are spread via the airborne route. An N95 respirator, which is available in many brands and types, is a special type of protective equipment that can filter out more particles than a regular mask. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations state that, for your own protection, you shouldn't wear an N95 respirator without first being fit-tested. Without fit testing, you can't be sure you have an adequate seal to provide maximum protection from aerosolized particles.
To put on a respirator, place it over your nose, mouth, and chin. Then fit the flexible nose piece over the bridge of your nose and secure the ties. Next, perform a fit check: When you exhale, check for leaks around your face (see Seal of approval). Remember to use a new respirator for each patient encounter.
Place goggles or a face shield over your eyes or on your face and adjust to fit. Some face shields have cords or elastic bands that require fastening or tying behind the head and neck, much like masks. The goggles or face shield should completely cover your eyes to provide the best protection.
Gloves should cover the cuff of the gown at your wrist and should be free of obvious rips, tears, or holes to prevent areas of unprotected skin. To put on gloves, select the correct size and type, insert a hand into each glove, and extend the gloves over the cuffs of your gown. Remember to put on gloves last, and use a new pair when switching from dirty to clean procedures or between patients.
Gloves should never be reused, whether for the same patient or between patients. Although gloves keep most microorganisms from getting on your hands, they aren't completely protective. Always perform hand hygiene before and after removing gloves.
If your PPE becomes dirty, you must change it to prevent cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when a clean site becomes exposed to microorganisms from a dirty source, such as contaminated gloves or equipment.
To further prevent cross-contamination, you should always start with clean procedures and then progress to more dirty tasks. For example, if you plan to perform routine I.V. care and check the patient's intake and output, start by assessing the I.V. site (a clean task). If the I.V. site dressing doesn't need to be changed, you don't need to change gloves before progressing to the next task. If the dressing is soiled or loosened and needs to be changed (a dirty task), perform the dressing change using appropriate infection control procedures, perform hand hygiene (see Mom always said, wash your hands on page 12), and then put on a new pair of gloves before progressing to the next task.
If you were to start by assessing the patient's urinary output and emptying the urine drainage bag (a dirty task) and then changing the patient's I.V. site dressing, you'd cross-contaminate the I.V. site. If you must switch from a dirty task to a clean one, remove your gloves, perform hand hygiene, and put on a new pair of gloves before moving to the clean task to minimize the risk of cross-contamination. In addition, always perform hand hygiene and change your gloves whenever the gloves become grossly soiled, ripped, or torn. For a list of common clean and dirty nursing tasks, see Is it clean or dirty?
Until recently, removing PPE wasn't considered a high-risk procedure; however, an outbreak of SARS in Canadian health care workers was believed to be associated with improper removal of PPE. The theory was that the staff weren't routinely performing hand hygiene before removing their respirators and were taking off the respirators from the nose and mouth area rather than using the respirator's ties. When the staff were retrained on how to properly remove PPE without contaminating themselves, the rate of secondary infection greatly decreased.
The order in which you remove PPE is very important. You should remove all PPE except a mask or respirator at the doorway of the patient's room, before you leave the room. Remove a mask or respirator outside the patient's room after you've closed the door. If at any time your hands become visibly contaminated while removing PPE, wash them before you remove the remaining gear.
When you're removing PPE, remember that the front or outside of all equipment is considered dirty, and the back or inside is clean. You should always touch the cleanest part of the gear and remove it to avoid cross-contamination.
Remove PPE in the following order:
To remove gloves, start by grasping the outside of one glove with the opposite gloved hand and peel it off inside out, making sure to avoid touching your exposed wrist or hand. Hold the glove in the hand that's still gloved. Next, slide two or three fingers of your exposed hand inside the cuff of the remaining glove and peel the glove off inside out. Avoid touching the outside of the glove with your exposed hand so you don't cross-contaminate it. Dispose of the gloves in the proper receptacle.
To remove goggles, grasp the arm of the goggles to pull them off. To remove a face shield, grasp the ties or elastic bands from behind your head and lift the shield away from your face. Don't grab the front of the goggles or face shield for removal because this will contaminate your exposed hands. Place the goggles or face shield in the designated receptacle for disposal.
To remove a gown, unfasten the ties in the back, then pull the gown away from your torso by grasping the inside of the material at the shoulder or neck area and pulling it away from your body. Don't touch the outside of the gown. Fold or roll the used gown into a bundle, making sure that the cleanest (inside) portion of the gown is on the outside of the bundle as you roll it. Next, dispose of the gown in the designated receptacle.
To remove a mask or respirator, wait until leaving the patient's room. Removing your respiratory protection inside the room would put you at risk for inhaling infectious particles. Also, it's recommended that you wash your hands before you take off a mask or respirator, even if you correctly follow procedure. (The door and doorknob of the patient's room are likely to be contaminated and your hands will become dirty when you touch them as you leave the room.) Grasp the ties or elastic bands from behind your head and pull the mask over your head. Don't grab the front of the mask or respirator for removal because the front of the mask is considered contaminated, and touching it would introduce microorganisms into your body.
A fter you've removed all your PPE, wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Proper hand hygiene is the best way to protect yourself from the spread of disease.
When your hands are visibly dirty, you must wash them using soap and warm water. (Alcohol-based products don't remove dirt or debris, so you must use soap and water.) The mechanical action of scrubbing your hands together helps to remove the contamination. Avoid using hot water because it increases skin irritation and dryness. Numerous studies have shown that most health care workers wash their hands for less than 10 seconds, which isn't long enough. You must wash your hands for at least 15 seconds. It's difficult to time yourself when washing your hands, but an easy solution is to hum “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” which lasts about 15 seconds.
After washing your hands, thoroughly dry them with a paper towel. Next, turn off the faucet with the paper towel you used to dry your hands or a clean paper towel. Don't touch the faucet handles with your clean hands because faucets are covered in microorganisms; touching them to turn off the water will recontaminate your hands.
If your hands aren't visibly dirty, you may use an alcohol-based hand foam or gel to clean them. These waterless products are more effective than soap and water in decreasing the number of microorganisms on your hands. They're also faster to use and cause less skin irritation. Apply the manufacturer-recommended amount of product to the palm of one hand and rub your hands together, making sure to cover all surfaces of your hands, until they're dry.
As nurses, we're all at risk for contracting and spreading infectious diseases. Following proper infection control procedures can stop the spread of disease, and the proper use of PPE can protect you from becoming sick and can help protect your patients and their visitors.
Follow standard precautions for all patients to help prevent transmitting infection. Here's how.
Wash your hands for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub:
To protect your hands while performing procedures and patient care that require you to touch blood, body fluids, secretions, or excretions:
To protect your skin and clothing while performing patient care that may result in splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions, or excretions:
Mask and protective eyewear
To protect your eyes, nose, and mouth while performing procedures and patient care that may result in splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions, or excretions:
Other preventive measures
Besides standard precautions, three categories of isolation precautions—contact, droplet, and airborne precautions—are determined by the mode of transmission of the infectious organisms. Here's a list of diseases for each category or precaution.
Use standard precautions for the care of all patients (see What's the standard?)
In addition to standard precautions, use contact precautions for patients known or suspected to have serious illnesses easily transmitted by direct patient contact or by contact with items in the patient's environment. Examples include:
In addition to standard precautions, use droplet precautions for patients known or suspected to have serious illnesses transmitted by large particle droplets. Examples include:
In addition to standard precautions, use airborne precautions for patients known or suspected to have serious illnesses transmitted by airborne droplets. Examples include:
Note: Certain infections require more than one type of precaution.
4, Useful information and links for Ear-loop Face Mask & Surgical Mask:
Please contact ATOMO Dental for more detailed information:
1241 Quarry Lane #125
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Toll free: 866-980-0988