A Call for More Effective Respiratory Protection in Healthcare
Current UK COVID-19 guidance does not require FFP3 respirators to be worn by healthcare staff on general wards, but new research suggests that highly effective respirators should be used in a far wider range of environments to keep front-line workers safe in the workplace.
Respiratory experts state in new editorial published in The BMJ, that it is now clear that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through the inhalation of aerosols when in close proximity to an infected person, concluding that greater use of FFP3 respirators and adequate ventilation systems would help reduce transmission.
The editorial authors from the universities of Leicester, Edinburgh Napier and Hong Kong, Virginia Tech, and NHS Lanarkshire have said that “Both high filtration efficiency and a good fit are needed to enhance protection against aerosols, because tiny airborne particles can find their way around any gaps between mask and face.”
In response to the research, the Royal College of Nurses have renewed their petition to the government for improved respiratory protection for nurses.
Speaking to the Nursing Times, Rose Gallagher, RCN professional lead for infection prevention and control said: “This editorial and supporting evidence are important contributions to how to best protect nurses and midwives working in different situations from COVID-19
“This includes the need for suitable PPE for short range transmission of infection when providing care to patients and adequate ventilation to protect from long range aerosols.
“This call extends beyond the need to wear FFP3 masks only when undertaking aerosol-generating procedures.”
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