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Masks with 1-way valves do not protect the public

I have seen many people, including health care professionals, who are utilizing self-purchased PPE. When healthcare professionals use their own PPE, the PPE may not adhere to the standards set up by hospital infection control committees. One such glaring example I have seen in and out of the hospital is the use of N95 respirators with 1-way valves.

Effectively, the wearer breaths filtered air, but when exhaling, the 1-way valve opens allowing for un-filtered and, therefore, easier exhaust of the exhaled breath. This means N95’s with 1-way valves protect the wearer, but do not protect patients or the public. As such, if no other respirator is used, a surgical mask should be placed over the 1-way valve to prevent transmission should the wearer be in the active stages of a COVID-19 infection.

Below are some examples of N95 respirators with 1-way valves:

1-Way Valves for various respirators used during the COVID-19 pandemic, they should not be used unless no other N95 respirator is available. -Wells Brambl, MD 2020