The work in surgical pathology under current conditions makes employment of the protective mask a necessity. It is also the OSHA’s requirement. However, it is very difficult to work the entire day with the available protection masks.
I have “dissected” most of the masks from a regular surgical mask to the most frequently used the Kimberly-Clark TECNOL FLUIDSHIELD mask. The latter has four layers. Two internal layers are made from unwettable material. Designed to prevent penetration of splashes, the mask is not suitable for a prolonged use.
First, the breathing area overheats because the mask hampers evaporation.
Second, there is also over saturation with exhaled carbon dioxide that decreases the percentage of oxygen in the inhaled air. If we add undesirable reflections of the plastic shield, the conditions of using the mask become more unfavorable.
Accidentally, I realized that it is more reasonable to wear the Kimberly-Clark mask with the plastic shield upside- down. In this situation, the area of air circulation is larger. While using the “modified” Kimberly-Clark mask with the shield down, my coworkers and I noticed that many droplets of blood, stain, and other fluid could be found on the plastic shield. It means that the chin and the neck are more protected from splashes and spatters. The shield reaches the ubiquitous blue protective gown like Convertors (ALLEGIANCE’s Impervious Gown w/Thumbhooks, Universal). One lower fold of the mask can be loosened to make the mask longer or the plastic shield can be cut to make it shorter if it is necessary for the individual adjustment. The lower strips can be tightened or loosened around the neck depending on the type of the processed specimen. The protective glasses should be worn above the strings of the mask to get more protection. The use of protective glasses with solid side shields at the grossing table is a necessity and the OSHA’s requirement without any exception.
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