Article Text

Respiratory Protection for Health Care Workers
  1. I Greaves1 and
  2. M Byers1,2
  1. 1Academic Dept of Emergency Medicine, James Cook University Hospital. University of Teeside 01642 850850
  2. 2mbyers{at}


Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear incidents are rare, but the likelihood of any medical facility having to deal with contaminated or contagious casualties is not, Health Care Workers (HCW) often being exposed to infectious or toxic substances. Although medical staff routinely take measures to protect themselves against exposure to infection by wearing protective clothing, they rarely consider the inhalational route as a threat. This paper presents a series of cases where HCW’s have been exposed to toxic or infectious material through the respiratory route, discusses standards of respiratory protection and describes how this risk can be mitigated to protect medical personnel.

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