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Face Masks for Patients May Leak, Spread Germs
Date:10/9/2009

tudy results argue for avoiding the use of high pressure, which will lead to more exhaled air dispersion, and "exhalation devices, which will lead to widespread exhaled air dispersion."

Dr. Roland Schein, professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, said it is well-known that these masks can spread contagious germs.

"The concern has always been with open systems and highly infectious pathogens. People within a certain range are at risk and need to take precautions to reduce those risks," Schein said.

This study has defined how far those germs can spread, he added.

Health-care workers caring for patients using these masks should take precautions, including face masks and protective clothing, Schein said. This is especially important now with "the concerns about H1N1 and other respiratory pathogens," he said.

More information

For more information on respiratory protection, visit the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration.



SOURCES: David S. Hui, M.D., department of medicine and therapeutics, the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Roland Schein, M.D., professor, division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine; October 2009 Chest


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