P2_N95 respirators & surgical masks to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection_ Effectiveness & adverse effects_CQU.pdf (1.55 MB)
P2/N95 respirators & surgical masks to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection: Effectiveness & adverse effects
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-08, 02:21 authored by Breanne Kunstler, Skye Newton, Hayley Hill, John Ferguson, Phillipa Hore, Brett G Mitchell, Kathy Dempsey, Andrew J Stewardson, Deborah Friedman, Kate Cole, Malcolm R Sim, Bridget FergusonBridget Ferguson, Penelope Burns, Nicole King, Steven McGloughlin, Melanie Dicks, Sally McCarthy, Barry Tam, Briony Hazelton, Cherylynn McGurgan, Steve McDonald, Tari Turner
Background: Millions of people have acquired and died from SARS-CoV-2 infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical masks and P2/N95 respirators, to prevent infection while treating patients. However, the comparative effectiveness of respirators and masks in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection and the likelihood of experiencing adverse events (AEs) with wear are unclear. Methods: Searches were carried out in PubMed, Europe PMC and the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register to 14 June 2021. A systematic review of comparative epidemiological studies examining SARS-CoV-2 infection or AE incidence in HCWs wearing P2/N95 (or equivalent) respirators and surgical masks was performed. Article screening, risk of bias assessment and data extraction were duplicated. Meta-analysis of extracted data was carried out in RevMan. Results: Twenty-one studies were included, with most having high risk of bias. There was no statistically significant difference in respirator or surgical mask effectiveness in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection (OR 0.85, [95%CI 0.72, 1.01]). Healthcare workers experienced significantly more headaches (OR 2.62, [95%CI 1.18, 5.81]), respiratory distress (OR 4.21, [95%CI 1.46, 12.13]), facial irritation (OR 1.80, [95%CI 1.03, 3.14]) and pressure-related injuries (OR 4.39, [95%CI 2.37, 8.15]) when wearing respirators compared to surgical masks. Conclusion: The existing epidemiological evidence does not enable definitive assessment of the effectiveness of respirators compared to surgical masks in preventing infection. Healthcare workers wearing respirators may be more likely to experience AEs. Effective mitigation strategies are important to ensure the uptake and correct use of respirators by HCWs.
Category 2 - Other Public Sector Grants Category
Number of Pages15
Publisher LicenseCC BY-NC-ND
Additional RightsCC BY-NC-ND 4.0