Powered Air Purifying Respirators | Respiratory Protection
A Powered Air Purifying Respirator is a reusable respirator used in high-risk settings and meet advanced CDC guidelines for protection against highly infectious diseases. A PAPR should be used when an N95 Mask does not fit properly, facial hair or other deformity interferes with the mask seal, or you are explicitly involved in high-risk procedures or in a settings where you are exposed to highly infectious diseases (1). Medical professionals who cannot wear an N95 Mask opt to use a PAPR in order to not be exposed to any airborne hazards
A PAPR covers all your bases against gas and vapors and particulates leaving you with fewer worries in high-risk settings. A durable face shield pairs with a robust respiratory protective device that is easy to use, easy to clean, and comfortable to wear. Some PAPRS have multiple air-flow settings giving you complete control over the amount of oxygen is available to you, and how long your PAPR's battery can last. Combine your PAPR with 3M particulate filters or chemical cartridge depending on your hazard.
What is a PAPR?
A PAPR is a battery operated respirator that connects a battery-operated blower with a half or full face piece, breathing tube, and particulate filters. A PAPR passes air through a HEPA filter to purify the air before delivering it to the face piece. A HEPA filter is a type of pleated mechanical air filter that is highly efficient at filtering airborne particulate matter. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air-filter.
When inhaling, a PAPR is not like a positive airway press device used to treat sleep apnea because it can be over-breathed when inhaling. If a PAPR is not a full-face device, then it is critical to pair it with a a face shield to prevent against infectious droplets from bodily fluids. People who wear PAPRs should be trained in order to put it on and remove it without risk of infection
How do you clean a PAPR?
Before using your PAPR, ensure you undergo a medical evaluation so that you are cleared for healthy use. A PAPR cannot be used by everyone especially if you have respiratory setbacks. Unlike an N95 mask, a proper fit test is not required.
When removing matter from PAPR components, you should wear nitrile gloves to protect your hands and limit the possibility of self-infection. Other disposable apparel and medical PPE such as gowns may be required depending on circumstances (2). Do not get the cleaning solution in contact with filters to avoid damage. Simple detergent and water solution can clean the exterior of filters.
To disinfect your PAPR, remove the hood or helmet and wipe with a detergent or disinfectant solution. Always follow manufacturer recommendations, although it might be easier to wipe your PAPR down with disinfectant wipes, you may be doing harm. You may clean the suspension inside the head gear and your protective face shield with disinfectant wipes. Before you put your PAPR back together, inspect it for any hazards or necessary repairs.
The use of PAPR devices is limited to industrial, medical and professional applications and are beyond the hazards of consumers (3). Using PAPR devices should be done by trained professionals as even the cleaning of a PAPR can cause self-infection if instructions are not followed and protective measures aren't in place. Always follow manufacturer instructions when cleaning PAPR devices and setting them up for operation.
(3): https://workersafety.3m.com/using-paprs-clinical-healthcare-settings/external icon