Elainee Albe Fala F.

Jaim BSN-3E

Surgical Masks Provided Effective Protection of Health-Care Workers Against H1N1, Study Suggests
ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2010) — The effectiveness of ordinary surgical masks as opposed to respirators in protecting health care workers against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus has been the subject of debate. An observational study published in the April 1, 2010 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, available online, suggests that surgical masks are just as effective as respirators in this regard.

Researchers analyzed the incidence of H1N1 among health care workers from April through August of 2009 at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore. A small percentage tested positive for H1N1 during this period. None had cared for any patients with H1N1 or worked in H1N1 screening areas of the emergency room. In all cases, transmission was believed to have occurred outside of patient care, when health care workers were in contact with roommates, the general public, and other sources. From June 19 to July 21, health care workers at the hospital wore N95 respirators in the emergency room and an H1N1 isolation area. From July 22 to Aug. 31, surgical masks were used by workers in these areas. The incidence of H1N1 among workers remained low during both periods. Although the study was observational, the findings suggest that surgical masks and respirators did not differ in their effectiveness in preventing hospital staff from acquiring H1N1. "What is more important than using high-filtration or respirator masks for known or suspected cases is to have a uniform policy, such as using surgical masks, when in close contact with all patients," said study author Brenda Sze Peng Ang, MD, of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore. "This way, health care workers are protected from getting infected by patients not initially thought to have H1N1."

Reaction: As a student nurse the very first thing to do is to protect ourselves from harm and to protect also our patients from y transmission of microorganisms. As I have read the journal it probably says that surgical mask can totally protect our health as health care providers against AH1N1,help us to avoid some future illness. Maybe it will be more effective if this precaution will be implemented. But in the case of our country Philippines , I don’t think that the government will have an action about delivery of quality and effective health care. Public hospitals are having shortage of equipments and most needed materials that may help deliver proper care. Health is only the fifth priority of our government and it can’t even provide a continuous stocks of sterile equipments. Our public hospitals are contaminated and crowded, All I can see is the unsterile style of providing ideal care.I hope our government will take care about this problem. I do agree to what the author stated that by surgical or sterile mask this will really help and will serve as our protection but in the case of the Philippines I think only Private Hospitals has the capacity to implement such act.

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