A doctor wearing a surgical mask and surgical cap, holding a pair of medical tweezers.

Respiratory Protection in Health Care

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In the rapidly changing healthcare industry, one thing remains the same: the need for effective training and education to help create and maintain a healthy and safe workplace. For usage guides, fit, and best practices to protect you and your patients, 3M has the solutions and resources for all your Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask needs.

  • PPE and Skin Protection

    An icon of a skin protectant applicator.

    Skin Protection Solutions

    Extended use of PPE, particularly devices like respirators and face shields, may impact skin and cause various levels of skin breakdown. Explore some simple ways you can help minimize that breakdown.

    • 3M™ Cavilon™ No Sting Barrier Film will help protect intact skin from moisture and friction and, when used properly, would not be expected to interfere with the fit of 3M filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) such as N95 respirators.

    • 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant 0.7 ml applicator can be used to help protect damaged skin, e.g. abrasions from friction or other superficial skin damage, from further damage.


    Skin Protection PPE Resources

    • Explore steps you can take to help protect yourself from skin breakdown due to extended PPE use.

       Poster

    • The key consideration when determining how to help protect your skin while wearing facial PPE is ensuring that the skin protection product does not interfere with the PPE and its functionality.

       Brochure

  • Reusable Respirators and PAPRs

    An icon of a reusable respirator.

    Compare respirator options.

    Global demand for supplies used to protect front-line and health workers, such as N95 respirators, is currently exceeding available supply. There are additional respiratory protection options available. Learn what option may be right for you.

     
    Filtration efficiency of min. 95% (N95) (non-oily particulates)
         
    NIOSH Filtration Level
    95% (N95) 95% (N95), 99.97% (P100) 99.97% (HEPA)
    OSHA Assigned Protection Factor (APF)
    10 APF 10 APF 25 APF - 1000 APF
    Can use with a stethoscope
         
    Components intended to be disinfected and reused
         
    Replaceable filters available
       
    Fit test required
         
    Pressure type
    Negative Negative Negative

PPE FAQ and Consideration

  • There are a few things to look for when selecting a respirator:


    1. Check to confirm that the product you are considering is certified as a respirator (such as an N95, FFP2, or KN95). Certified respirators contain filtration material capable of capturing particles, including ones that are too small to see with your eyes.
    2. Be sure to select a respirator that can seal against your face without any gaps. To provide respiratory protection, a respirator must fit snugly on the user’s face to ensure there are no gaps between the face and the respirator seal. Even very small gaps between the face and the edge of the respirator allow air, and particles, to go around the filter media.
  • An N95 respirator is not a mask. Certain disposable filtering facepiece particulate respirators (like N95s) are similar in appearance to many surgical/procedure masks. Healthcare workers use surgical masks to help protect the patient and sterile field from particles from the healthcare worker as well as to help protect the healthcare workers from high-pressure streams of blood. Respirators contain filter media and form a seal to the face and are designed to help reduce the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, including droplets that may contain bacteria and viruses.
  • Respirators can be worn until they are dirty, damaged or difficult to breathe through. To be effective, a respirator needs to be worn correctly and worn throughout the duration of the hazardous exposure. People using a respirator will need to go to an area with safe air to remove the respirator for any reason, including to eat and drink.


    Again, however, users should follow guidance from health authorities, which typically stresses the importance of avoiding prolonged exposure to hazardous air, such as by remaining indoors in clean environments when it is possible to do so.

  • 3M does not recommend reuse of disposable masks or respirators.


    Particles containing viruses, bacteria, etc. get captured on the N95 respirator filter fibres during use and remain on the fibres after use. Handling or storing the respirator might result in further spreading the disease.


    We recognize the existing CDC guidelines recommending respirator reuse: When supplies of N95 respirators are depleted, a combination of approaches can be utilized to conserve supplies while safeguarding health care workers. See full CDC document here (US, English only).


    There is no way of determining the maximum possible number of safe reuses for an N95 respirator. Safe N95 reuse is affected by a number of variables that impact respirator function and contamination over time.


    The decision to implement policies that permit extended use or limited reuse of N95 respirators should be made by the professionals who manage the institution’s respiratory protection program.

  • During this pandemic, we continue to rely on the healthcare supply chain distribution channel as this is best suited to reach customers in the most efficient manner. 3M recommends communicating and establishing your personal protection equipment needs, including respirators, masks and hand sanitizer, directly with your primary distributor.

  • When properly selected and worn, any of 3M’s elastomeric respirator facepieces – when used with an appropriate particulate filter – will help reduce exposure to airborne droplets or aerosols, including those that may contain virus or bacteria. Our half facepiece reusable respirator options include the 3M™ Half Facepiece Respirator 6000 Series, 3M™ Half Facepiece Respirator 6500 Series, or 3M™ Half Facepiece Respirator 7500 Series. All of these would require separate eye protection, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please note that our full facepiece respirators feature integrated eye protection. Additionally, you’d need to select an appropriate particulate filter, and one such option is our 3M™ Cartridges 6092X Series and 3M™ Particulate Filters 7000 Series, which feature hard cases that can be wiped down as part of your facility's infection prevention and disinfection protocols.


Resources and Posters

Extended use of PPE, particularly devices like respirators and face shields, may impact skin and cause various levels of skin breakdown. Explore some simple ways you can help minimize that breakdown.

Additional Resources

  • Gloved hands submerging a reusable respirator in liquid.
    Submerssion Disinfection
    For 3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series.
  • A man wearing gloved hands, disinfecting a reusable respirator with wipes.
    Interim Disinfection
    For 3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series.
  • A woman putting on a diisposable respirator.
    Assembly, Donning, and Doffing
    For 3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series with Filter 7093.
  • Gloved hands changing the cartridges on a disposable respirator.
    Assembly, Donning, and Doffing

    For 3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series with 3M™ Particulate Filter 5N11 Combination.


A doctor wearing a stethoscope, speaking with a patient.

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