Current media coverage of Ebola and EnteroVirus has healthcare professionals inquiring on appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
It is important for healthcare providers to obtain information and updates directly from the CDC at CDC.gov. At current the CDC states “use of standard precautions apply”—meaning any healthcare providers encountering Ebola or Marburg hemorrhagic fever or persons and animals suspected of having Ebola or Marburg virus infection follow barrier techniques include wearing protective gowns, gloves, and masks in addition to eye protection (e.g., eye glasses) or face shields.
In regards to EnteroVirus there is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections, according to the CDC, and there are no antiviral medications available either. To prevent the spread of infection, the CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding kissing, hugging and sharing utensils with infected people and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
Crosstex encourages healthcare professionals to carefully consider their PPE selections, especially face mask selection. Common misconceptions include “a mask is a mask” and all face mask protection is the same. This is not true. Although facemasks may look similar each mask has notable differences affecting the quality and level of filtration. This is the reason why standards were developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials—to classify masks by performance Level, or ASTM Levels.
For known encounters with the Ebola and or EV-D68 infections Crosstex recommends an ASTM Level 3 mask. Level 3 is the highest level of Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) and sub-micron Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE) also the highest level of fluid resistance. As face mask BFE, PFE, Fluid Resistance, Delta P and Flame Spread can often be confusing, Crosstex has developed a 7-minute video to help healthcare professionals understand how to select the right mask for various procedure, available at: crosstexlearning.com
In additional to ASTM levels, other considerations for mask selection include fit and safety in manufacturing/handling. For example, pertaining to fit, the Secure Fit® technology mask line — developed after extensive research at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York — provides up to three times more protection from exposure to infectious particulates (spray/aerosols) than a standard face mask. The increased protection is achieved through a patent-pending design that eliminates gapping at the bottom and sides of the mask. The mask’s design takes into account the opinion of experts in the field: “a face mask is only as good as it fits.”
Crosstex has revolutionized face masks by applying scientific knowledge to the design and manufacture of this everyday medical device and since Crosstex masks are produced in U.S.A manufacturing -plants (corporate office/manufacturing located in Hauppauge, Long Island NY); manufacturing is regulated and masks do not travel through multiple ports-of-call in order to reach American-based clinical offices and universities. Crosstex provides one of the most extensive selections of FDA cleared surgical face masks available from any single company and is relied on by 150 million healthcare professionals worldwide.
Crosstex manufactures more than 25 facemask models; each specifically engineered to protect both the users and their patients. The wide variety of masks provides a design, fit and filtration level to match the protection needed for each type of procedure. Whether users will be engaging in procedures involving high-levels of fluids, spray/splatter and/or aerosols — or engaging in procedures with low-exposure risks — they can be sure they have the right mask. To make mask selection easy and intuitive, Crosstex developed a MaskEnomics® system, which allows users to select the appropriate protection level (filtration-splatters-spray/aerosol) based on the tasks being performed. MaskEnomics conforms to ASTM standards (a well-recognized independent U.S.-based international standards organization) and the European EN Rating Standards. In addition to offering differing protection levels, masks also vary by feature. For example, users can choose FogFree® masks or Ultra®Sensitive masks (designed for sensitive skin and manufactured free of chemicals, inks and dyes). Almost one in every three face masks utilized in the U.S. dental market is a Crosstex mask and Crosstex is one of only 3 manufacturing plants in the United States.
The Crosstex mission to develop and manufacture innovative solutions for infection prevention and control (IP&C) is reflected in its comprehensive IP&C product portfolio. It is imperative that healthcare professionals do not become complacent in both selecting and utilizing PPE. For questions on facemasks, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, gloves, etc. as it pertains to recent media stories, and/or appropriate usage and disposal; Crosstex invites users to call the infection control helpline at 1-8558-Sterile, M-F, 8-5pm MST.