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Asian, female health workers expose more to ill-fitting face masks: Aussie research

(Xinhua)    16:38, September 16, 2020

SYDNEY, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- An Australian research released on Wednesday showed medical face masks don't always fit all health workers correctly, especially females and those of Asian heritage.

"Satisfactory airborne protection will only be provided if the filtering facepiece respirators are properly fitted to the individual's face, providing a tight facial seal," senior co-author Professor Britta von Ungern-Sternberg from the University of Western Australia explained.

"Airborne protection is decreased in the presence of a leak as unfiltered air will be drawn inside the mask."

The research found the P2/N95 masks only fit 85 percent of female health workers properly, comparing with 95 percent of males. Asian female health workers were particularly ill-fitted with those masks, with initial fit-pass rates recorded at just 60 percent.

Researchers said the fit-test panel N95 masks using are derived from a cohort in which females and Asians are underrepresented, which might explain lower initial fit-pass rates found in females and Asians.

The research also recommends using professionals to test masks fitting on health workers' face under their simulated work conditions, instead of letting health workers check their own masks, would likely improve protection against COVID-19.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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