Guidelines & Recommendations
Selecting the appropriate mask for a particular procedure is a critical component of your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocol. Although masks may look similar, each mask has notable differences affecting the performance and level of fluid resistance and particle filtration. Understanding the ASTM performance level of each surgical mask or procedural mask can help make the selection process easier and ensure your mask will provide the appropriate protection to minimize the spread of potentially infectious diseases.
Medical Surgical Mask or Procedural Mask Standards and Regulations
Specifications developed by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) are referenced by the FDA as the required standard in the USA. The current standard ASTM F2100-11 specifies the performance requirements for medical surgical masks or procedural masks with five basic criteria:
PPE for Standard Precautions: Determining What to Wear
Decisions about what PPE to use should be determined by the type and level of contact you will have with the patient.
Decisions about PPE can also be made with the following in mind: the diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of the patient, the patient's symptoms, and the type of infectious agent or illness you may encounter.
To determine what PPE to wear, ask yourself:
Consider the use of the following PPE:
When in doubt, applying the most conservative level of PPE is the best protection.
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