Committee on the Development of Reusable Facemasks for Use During an Influenza Pandemic; Board on Health Sciences Policy (HSP); Institute of Medicine (IOM)
Any strategy to cope with an influenza pandemic must be based on the knowledge and tools that are available at the time an epidemic may occur. In the near term, when we lack an adequate supply of vaccine and antiviral medication, strategies that rely on social distancing and physical barriers will be relatively more prominent as means to prevent spread of disease. The use of respirators and facemasks is one key part of a larger strategy to establish barriers and increase distance between infected and uninfected individuals. Respirators and facemasks may have a role in both clinical care and community settings.
Reusability of Facemasks During an Influenza Pandemic: Facing the Flu answers a specific question about the role of respirators and facemasks to reduce the spread of flu: Can respirators and facemasks that are designed to be disposable be reused safely and effectively? The committee—assisted by outstanding staff—worked intensively to review the pertinent literature; consult with manufacturers, researchers, and medical specialists; and apply their expert judgment. This report offers findings and recommendations based on the evidence, pointing to actions that are appropriate now and to lines of research that can better inform future decisions.
Elaine L. Larson and Catharyn T. Liverman, Editors; Committee on Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Personnel to Prevent Transmission of Pandemic Influenza and Other Viral Respiratory Infections: Current Research Issues; Institute of Medicine
Linda Hawes Clever, M.E. Bonnie Rogers, Andrea M. Schultz, and Catharyn T, Liverman, Editors; Committee on the Respiratory Protection Curriculum for Occupational Health Nursing Programs; Institute of Medicine