In this trial of 446 nurses (in the ED or medical/pediatric wards) caring for patients with a febrile respiratory illness during last year’s influenza season, they were randomized to wearing a fit-tested N95 respirator or a surgical mask during direct patient care. The rate of lab-confirmed influenza was no different between the groups (22.9% vs 23.6%). A surgical mask confers equal protection as an N95 respirator in protecting against influenza infection, during routine direct patient care (abstract).
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.