January 25, 2018
The importance of covering a cough or a sneeze to prevent spreading germs to those around us, often using the crook of an elbow, is something that most of us learned before starting school. Healthcare providers typically wear personal protective equipment, such as the filtering facepiece respirator, to protect both themselves and their patients. However, whether or not this equipment can be reused and still provide the necessary protection is a complicated issue.
During an epidemic, personal protective equipment for healthcare providers can mean the difference between containing the disease and spreading it further. Chief among this kind of equipment is the NIOSH-approved N95 filtering facepiece respirator, which covers the mouth and nose to filter out viruses and other harmful substances. In normal circumstances, filtering facepiece respirators are disposable. In the event of a severe epidemic, however, respirator demand could outpace supply, potentially requiring healthcare