Safety

Epidemiology association suggests respirator use isn’t necessary to protect from H1N1

Hospital Safety Insider, June 17, 2009

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Epidemiologists who first promoted respirator use for the current flu pandemic now say it is not necessary.
 
After examining the transmission characteristics of H1N1 swine flu, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) recommends that healthcare workers follow droplet precautions, not airborne precautions, according to its position paper.
 
This means that caregivers who are now treating patients for H1N1 can follow the same precautions as for seasonal flu.
 
Placing patients in negative pressure rooms and having workers wear N95 respirators is not necessary except when performing aerosol-inducing procedures, according to SHEA.
SHEA cautions that this recommendation could change with if further information about H1N1 transmission surfaces.
 
SHEA’s position differs from that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends that all healthcare workers who enter isolation rooms with H1N1 patients wear N95s.



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