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Treating Emergency Patients: PPE Requirements

April 07, 2020 6097

What personal protective equipment should we wear when treating an emergency patient? Do we have to have an N95 masks?

Cover your body, clothing and footwear to the extent possible with the best PPE available to you. During PPE shortages, at minimum a face shield and level 3 surgical mask should be used and non-aerosol producing care should be provided whenever possible. Procedures that produce an aerosol require additional respiratory tract protection and should be of the highest level available and worn by all staff in the immediate treatment area: Powered air purifying respirators (PAPR), N95 filtering facepiece respirators and N95 surgical masks, respectively, provide this additional protection. N95 masks are only effective if properly fitted. Dental professionals should follow all fit testing recommendations for the type of mask employed.

If the emergency care that must be provided to a patient positive for COVID will produce an aerosol, it cannot be provided in a typical dental office. Care must be provided in an airborne infection isolation room and highest level of respiratory protection, as described above, should be worn by all within the treatment area.