Comparing the quantitative fit-testing results of half-mask respirators with various skin barriers in a crossover study design: a pilot study

R. S. Trehan, E. P. McDonnell, J. V. McCoy, P. A. Ohman-Strickland, C. Donovan, T. R. Quinoa, D. S. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Clinicians around the world are experiencing skin breakdown due to the prolonged usage of masks while working long hours to treat patients with COVID-19. The skin damage is a result of the increased friction and pressure at the mask–skin barrier. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians have been applying various skin barriers to prevent and ameliorate skin breakdown. However, there are no studies to our knowledge that assess the safety and efficacy of using these skin barriers without compromising a sufficient mask–face seal. Aim: To conduct the largest study to date of various skin barriers and seal integrity with quantitative fit testing (QNFT). Methods: This pilot study explored whether the placement of a silicone scar sheet (ScarAway®), Cavilon™, or Tegaderm™ affects 3M™ half-face mask respirator barrier integrity when compared to no barrier using QNFT. Data were collected from nine clinicians at an academic level 1 trauma centre in New Jersey. Findings: The silicone scar sheet resulted in the lowest adequate fit, whereas Cavilon provided the highest fit factor when compared to other interventions (P < 0.05). Conclusion: These findings help inform clinicians considering barriers for comfort when wearing facemasks during the COVID-19 pandemic and for future pandemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Volume111
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

Keywords

  • COVID-19 skin breakdown
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • N95 respirator irritation
  • Nasal bridge pressure-ulcers
  • Occupational skin breakdown
  • Quantitative fit testing

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