Mask UP!

Angie Szumlinski News

Disposable medical procedure masks are commonly worn in health care and public settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Filtered Filtration Efficiency (FFE) for procedure masks is generally below that of high-efficiency N95 respirators certified by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and foreign-sourced equivalents (i.e., KN95). However, many procedure masks available to the public are constructed with …

Double Masking

Angie Szumlinski News

Although global vaccination efforts against SARS-CoV-2 are underway, the public is urged to continue using face masks as a primary intervention to control transmission. Recently, US public health officials have also encouraged doubling masks as a strategy to counter elevated transmission associated with infectious SARS-CoV-2 variants. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigators reported that doubling masks increased effectiveness, but their …

Oh Boy – Masks and Dining – Again

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

Mask mandates were associated with statistically decreases in county-level daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates within 20 days of implementation. Allowing on-premises restaurant dining was associated with increases in county-level case and death growth rates within 41-80 days after reopening. State mask mandates and prohibiting on-premises dining at restaurants help limit potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2, reducing community transmission of …

Facemask Repurposing

Angie Szumlinski Studies

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has not only created a global health crisis, but it is also now threatening the environment. A multidisciplinary collaborative approach is required to fight against the pandemic and reduce the environmental risks associated with the disposal of used personal protective equipment (PPE). A paper published on Science Direct discusses ways to decrease the impact on our …

Spotting Fake N95s

Angie Szumlinski Announcements, Featured

Counterfeit N95 face masks are on the rise and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no guarantee they provide the same protection as masks approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the agency in the United States that regulates filtering facepiece respirators. In an article published in Medscape, a clear sign …

Double Mask?

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

The CDC conducted experiments to assess two ways of improving the fit of medical procedure masks: fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask, and knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask, and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face. Each modification substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure. “Double masking” …

President Biden’s Mask

Angie Szumlinski Featured, Health

President Biden has asked all Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his term, and he has signed several executive actions that mandate wearing face coverings on federal property and aboard public transit. Since April, public health experts have encouraged elected leaders to promote mask-wearing. President Biden has consistently worn a mask, sometimes even doubling up on …

Mask Times Two: The Question

Angie Szumlinski News

They say two heads are better than one; can the same be said for facemasks? The answer is yes, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal “Matter” in July found that wearing two masks could increase protection from virus particles by 50% up to 75%. It not only added …

Mask Filtration Efficiency

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

In March 2020, the soaring number of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections resulted in an unprecedented shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinicians and essential health care workers. The shortage was most profound among N95 respirators, named for their ability to filter 95% or more of tiny 0.3 µm particles, and are considered the mainstay of …

Ties or Loops

Angie Szumlinski Studies

A study on the effectiveness of facemasks that was published in JAMA on November 23, 2020, was a little disturbing. When comparing a surgical mask with head ties vs a procedure mask with ear loops, there was a large difference in fitted filtration efficiencies (FFEs) (71.5% vs 38.1% respectively). Even more concerning, there was also a similar trend of poor …