This content was current as of the date it was released. In science and medicine, information is constantly changing and may become out-of-date as new data emerge.
Unmasking the Mystery
So many different kinds of masks! Which ones are really effective? Which ones are useless? Dr. Brian Koffman provides us with a well-referenced guide to the appropriate use of various types of face masks and respirators. This topic is of vital concern, especially to immunocompromised patients, such as those living with CLL during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some sources of reliable information from the FDA and the CDC.
WARNING: Neither of these sites are particularly user friendly.
Personal Protective Equipment EUAs provides tables from the FDA of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE information. The umbrella Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is also explained detailing the use of non N95 masks during the pandemic. It lets one search for NIOSH approved N95 masks and other PPE, but it is not easy to navigate.
NPPTL Respirator Assessments to Support the COVID-19 Response is the CDC’s searchable database of KN95 masks and more that allows one to see information and test results on many masks. This is where we check out the KN95 masks that we are distributing.
We highly recommend that if you do buy the more protective KN95 or N95 masks on your own, you do careful research. 100,000s of masks have failed testing and been recalled.
Finally, here is link to our partner in this campaign to keep you covered, the nonprofit GetUsPPE that works mostly with health systems, but in their partnering with us, quickly recognized the need to protect not just those on the frontlines, but also high vulnerable populations such as CLL patients. We are immensely grateful to them for their vision and for their generous support.