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      Facial Skin Temperature and Discomfort When Wearing Protective Face Masks: Thermal Infrared Imaging Evaluation and Hands Moving the Mask

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          Abstract

          Individual respiratory protective devices and face masks represent critical tools in protecting health care workers in hospitals and clinics, and play a central role in decreasing the spread of the high-risk pandemic infection of 2019, coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The aim of the present study was to compare the facial skin temperature and the heat flow when wearing medical surgical masks to the same factors when wearing N95 respirators. A total of 20 subjects were recruited and during the evaluation, each subject was invited to wear a surgical mask or respirator for 1 h. The next day in the morning at the same hour, the same subject wore a N95 mask for 1 h with the same protocol. Infrared thermal evaluation was performed to measure the facial temperature of the perioral region and the perception ratings related to the humidity, heat, breathing difficulty, and discomfort were recorded. A significant difference in heat flow and perioral region temperature was recorded between the surgical mask and the N95 respirator ( p < 0.05). A statistically significant difference in humidity, heat, breathing difficulty, and discomfort was present between the groups. The study results suggest that N95 respirators are able to induce an increased facial skin temperature, greater discomfort and lower wearing adherence when compared to the medical surgical masks.

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          Most cited references 24

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          N95 Respirators vs Medical Masks for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Personnel

          Clinical studies have been inconclusive about the effectiveness of N95 respirators and medical masks in preventing health care personnel (HCP) from acquiring workplace viral respiratory infections.
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            Effectiveness of Masks and Respirators Against Respiratory Infections in Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

            In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we found evidence for a protective effect of facemasks and respirators against clinical respiratory infection among healthcare workers, and limited evidence for superiority of respirators. However, the existing evidence is sparse and findings inconsistent.
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              Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis

              Conflicting recommendations exist related to which facial protection should be used by health care workers to prevent transmission of acute respiratory infections, including pandemic influenza. We performed a systematic review of both clinical and surrogate exposure data comparing N95 respirators and surgical masks for the prevention of transmissible acute respiratory infections.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                27 June 2020
                July 2020
                : 17
                : 13
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, University of Chieti-Pescara, 66100 Chieti, Italy; felice.lorusso@ 123456unich.it
                [2 ]Department of Interdisciplinary Medicine, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, 70121 Bari, Italy; Francesco.inchingolo@ 123456uniba.it
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: ascarano@ 123456unich.it ; Tel.: +39-087-1355-4084; Fax: +39-087-1355-4099
                Article
                ijerph-17-04624
                10.3390/ijerph17134624
                7369838
                32605056
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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