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Additional Respiratory Protection Options

  • Clinician wearing PPE speaking with a patient

    Reusable Respirators

    Half facepiece reusable respirators help protect from particles and other contaminates. Learn more and find key resources on use of this option.
  • Clinician wearing PPE speaking with a patient

    Powered Air Purifying Respirators

    PAPR systems can offer comfortable respiratory, head, face and eye protection.
  • Clinician wearing PPE with patient

    FORD Limited-Use Public Health Emergency PAPR

    Ford will begin producing an all-new powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) design, developed in collaboration with 3M.
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Clinician wearing PPE with a patient

PPE information to help keep you safe in the fight against COVID-19

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  • We are fully committed to helping fight the spread of COVID-19 by supporting healthcare works around the world. This pandemic is affecting all of us, and we are doing everything we can to support public health–including doubling our global output of N95 respirators and getting them to healthcare providers on the front lines of the pandemic.

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General information about PPE

  • Clinician wearing PPE speaking with a patient

    PPE Questions and Considerations

    We know you have questions related to PPE. We are here to provide guidance on the different types of PPE and its proper use.
  • Clinician wearing PPE speaking with a patient

    Optimization of PPE

    With supply challenges around the world, many facilities are looking to optimize their equipment.
  • Clinician wearing PPE with patient

    PPE and Skin Protection

    Explore some simple ways you can minimize skin breakdown from the extended use of PPE.

  • Reusable respirators

    Additional Respiratory Protection Options

    Global demand for supplies used to protect front-line and health workers, such as N95 respirators, is currently exceeding available supply. There are additional respiratory protection options available


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3M Respirators in International Packaging Made Available in US during COVID-19

3M is continuing to address the COVID-19 pandemic with many tactics to help protect those responding to the outbreak, including healthcare workers and first responders. In early April, 3M reached agreement with the U.S. government on a plan that, with the Trump Administration’s assistance, will enable FEMA to import 166.5 million respirators into the United States over a 3-month period starting in April, from our plants in Asia.

Click here for more information if you have received 3M respirators in international packaging


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Clinician wearing PPE speaking with a patient
PPE Questions and Considerations
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We are here to answer your questions on 3M™ Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask use, fit and other considerations to help protect yourself. We will continue to update site with new information and answer questions we hear from you.

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Frequently asked questions on PPE use and equipment

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Respiratory protection in healthcare

  • Surgical N95 Respirators versus Standard N95 Respirators

    Surgical N95 Respirators versus Standard N95 Respirators

  • Webinar: Respiratory protection: Keeping you safe in the fight against COVID-19

    Respiratory Protection Series

    Join our experts to take a deeper dive into respiratory protection topics to help reduce risks in the fight against COVID-19.

    Part 1: Respiratory protection options and proper technique for donning and doffing

    Part 2: Fraudulent activity, imported respirators, decontamination methods and skin protection

    Part 3: A closer look at FEMA – Imported respirators from Asia

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Related resources

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Optimization of PPE
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With supply challenges around the world, many facilities are looking to optimize their equipment. This section contains use and reuse information of N95 respirators.

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Frequently asked questions on use and reuse of N95 respirators

  • Is there a time limit to wearing standard and surgical N95 respirators?

    There is no time limit to wearing a N95 respirator. Respirators can be worn until they are dirty, damaged or difficult to breathe through.

    Learn More (PDF, 361.33 KB)

  • 3M does not recommend reuse of disposable masks or respirators. Particles containing viruses, bacteria, etc. get captured on the N95 respirator filter fibers during use and remain on the fibers after use. Handling or storing the respirator might result in further spreading the disease.

    We recognize the existing CDC guidelines recommending respirator reuse: When supplies of N95 respirators are depleted, a combination of approaches can be utilized to conserve supplies while safeguarding health care workers (see full CDC document here).

    There is no way of determining the maximum possible number of safe reuses for an N95 respirator. Safe N95 reuse is affected by a number of variables that impact respirator function and contamination over time.

    The decision to implement policies that permit extended use or limited reuse of N95 respirators should be made by the professionals who manage the institution’s respiratory protection program.

    Learn More (PDF, 361.33 KB)

  • To be effective, a respirator needs to be worn correctly and worn throughout the duration of the hazardous exposure.

    Don:
     

    1. Hold the respirator in the palm of your hand with the straps facing the floor (If using a flat fold respirator; pull open the folds into a cup shape before placing in the palm of your hand).
    2. Place the N95 respirator on your face covering your nose and mouth.
    3. Pull the bottom strap up and over the top of your head and place at the back of your head below you rears.
    4. Pull the upper strap up and over top of your head, and put it behind your head at the crown of your head.
    5. Use both hands to mold the nosepiece to fit snugly against your nose and face.
    6. Perform a seal check according to manufacturer instructions to ensure there is a good seal against the skin.
       

    Doff: Do NOT touch the front of the respirator.
     

    1. Tilt your head forward. Then, use two hands to grab the bottom strap, pull to the sides, then over your head.
    2. Use both hands to grab the upper strap, pull to the sides, then over your head. Keep tension on the upper strap as you remove it, which will let the mask fall forward and be removed.

    Learn More (PDF, 1.07 MB)

  • Re-Don:
     

    1. Wash hands per facility protocol
    2. Apply clean gloves
    3. Inspect respirator for holes, tears or other damage or soiling to surface, straps, metal nose strip and nose foam. Get a new respirator if damaged or soiled.
    4. Hold the respirator in the palm of your hand with the straps facing the floor (If using a flat fold respirator; pull open the folds into a cup shape before placing in the palm of your hand).
    5. Place the N95 respirator on your face covering your nose and mouth. Avoid touching the inside of the respirator.
    6. Pull the upper strap and put it behind your head and place at the back of your head.
    7. Pull the bottom strap up and over top of your head, and put it behind your head below your ears.
    8. Use both hands to mold the nosepiece to fit snugly against your nose and face. Perform a seal check according to manufacturer instructions to ensure there is a good seal against the skin.
    9. Remove and discard gloves. Wash hands per facility protocol.

    Doff for storage and reuse:
     

    1. Wash hands per facility protocol
    2. Apply clean gloves
    3. Tilt your head forward. Then, with gloves on, use two hands to grab the bottom strap, pull to the sides, then over your head.
    4. Use both hands to grab the upper strap, pull to the sides, then over your head. Keep tension on the upper strap as you remove it, which will let the mask fall forward and be removed.
    5. Inspect respirator for holes, tears or other damage or soiling to surface, straps, metal nose strip and nose foam. Discard respirator if damaged or soiled.
    6. Place respirator in facility approved storage for reuse* and wash hands per facility protocol.

    Tips for Using a Filtering Facepiece Respirator Video

    Learn More (PDF, 567.93 KB)

  • CDC provided guidance for used respirator storage: Hang used respirators in a designated storage area or keep them in a clean, breathable container such as a paper bag between uses.

    To minimize potential cross-contamination, store respirators so that they do not touch each other and the person using the respirator is clearly identified. Storage containers should be disposed of or cleaned regularly.

    Learn More


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PPE and Skin Protection

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Extended use of PPE, particularly devices like respirators and face shields, may impact skin and cause various levels of skin breakdown. Explore some simple ways you can help minimize that breakdown.

Adequate fit and seal of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) such as N95 respirators with the skin are required to provide expected and effective exposure reduction. The proper seal helps ensure that the majority of inhaled air will travel through the respirator’s filter material. Anything that disrupts the fit and seal of the FFR will result in a reduction in the level of protection that the wearer can achieve with the FFR.

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Helping you face the challenge

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    Tips for PPE Skin Protection

    Explore steps you can take to help protect yourself from skin breakdown due to extended PPE use.

     

  • 3M™ Cavilon™ Product Use for PPE Skin Protection

    3M™ Cavilon™ Product Use for PPE Skin Protection

    Certain 3M skin health products may help protect the skin and not interfere with the fit of the respirator including:

    • 3M™ Cavilon™ No Sting Barrier Film
    • 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant

    Learn more about skin protectant considerations and how to use Cavilon solutions for skin protection under your PPE.


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Frequently asked questions on preventing PPE-related skin injuries

  • Can I use ointments (e.g. petroleum jelly) to protect my skin under a 3M filtering facepiece respirator (FFR), such as a N95 respirator?

    3M does not recommend the use of petroleum jelly (also known as petrolatum), ointments, or thick creams because of the potential for interference with the seal of any of 3M's FFR's, such as N95 respirators. Petroleum jelly may cause the respirator to slip around on the face.

  • Yes, 3M™ Cavilon™ No Sting Barrier Film will help protect intact skin from moisture and friction and, when used properly, would not be expected to interfere with the fit of 3M filtering facepiece respirators (FFR).

    •  The 1 ml wipe or 1 ml wand applicator should be used.
    •  The product should be applied to clean, dry skin over any area where the FFR is likely to cause friction and/or where moisture may collect, e.g. the bridge of the nose, cheeks, tops of ears, or forehead. 
    • It can be used on the face, but should not be used in the eye, or on the eyelid. 
    • The product should be allowed to dry completely (at least 90 seconds) before the FFR is donned (put on). This allows fluid to dry on the skin and vapors to dissipate.
      - Upon application, an odor may be noted as the solvent ingredient evaporates. The odor will disappear as the product dries.
    • Always read and follow all respirator user instructions, including conducting a use seal check every time the respirator is donned (put on).
    • We recommend starting with a once daily application. If the user experiences buildup of the product, decrease the frequency of application, e.g. 3 times/week.
    • Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film does not require removal but can be removed with a medical grade adhesive remover.
    • Every time an FFR is donned, the wearer must conduct a user seal check.  If a successful user seal check cannot be conducted, the wearer should not use the product with the respirator.

    *Please refer to the product inserts (Instructions for use) for 3M™ Cavilon™ No Sting Barrier Film and/or 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant for complete Indications and Instructions for Use, Contraindications, Precautions, and Warnings.

  • 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant*,** can be used to help protect damaged skin, e.g. abrasions from friction or other superficial skin damage

    • The 0.7 ml applicator is recommended.
    • It can be used on the face, but should not be applied in or near the eye
    • The product should be applied in a thin layer
    • The product should be allowed to dry completely (at least 90 seconds) before the FFR is donned (put on). This allows fluid to dry on the skin and vapors to dissipate.
      - Upon application, an odor may be noted as the solvent ingredient evaporates. The odor will disappear as the product dries.
    • Always read and follow all respirator user instructions, including conducting a use seal check every time the respirator is donned (put on).
    • We recommend starting with a 2-3 times per week application. If the user notes buildup of the product, decrease the frequency of application, e.g. 1-2 times/week.
    • Cavilon Advanced Skin Protectant does not require removal but can be removed with a medical adhesive remover containing hexamethyldisiloxane or a silicone.
    • Every time an FFR is donned, the wearer must conduct a user seal check.  If a successful user seal check cannot be conducted, the wearer should not use the product with the respirator.

    *Please refer to the product inserts (Instructions for use) for 3M™ Cavilon™ No Sting Barrier Film and/or 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant for complete Indications and Instructions for Use, Contraindications, Precautions, and Warnings.

    ** Federal Law (U.S.A.) restricts the device to sale by or on the order of a health care professional

  • 3M does not recommend use of dressings such as polyurethane foams and hydrocolloids. These types of dressings can raise the respirator off the cheeks and nose and may interfere with the intended seal and exposure reduction associated with the respirator.

    •  If use of a dressing or bandage is desired, select the thinnest dressing available (e.g. 3M™ Tegaderm™ Transparent Film Dressing) AND perform fit testing, as well as a user seal check every time the respirator is donned (put on).
      - The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires, “The fit test shall be performed while the test subject is wearing any applicable safety equipment that may be worn during actual respirator use which could interfere with respirator fit” (29 CFR § 1910.134 Appendix A). ISO 16975-3:2017 Part 3 also includes this requirement.
      - Outside the United States, the health care facility should be familiar with applicable local standards.
    • For those respirators with adjustable headbands, it is important to not over-tighten 3M filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) such as N95 respirators as this can interfere with the seal against the skin and increase the risk of pressure-related skin damage

    Note:  Dressings or film barriers can be used to help prevent or cover areas of skin damage under equipment, such as face shields, where fit and seal is not critical to the function of the protective equipment.

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Warning

WARNING: Fraud and Counterfeit Activity

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We have created a new 3M hotline for the U.S. and Canada that end-users and purchasers of 3M products can call for information on how to identify authentic 3M products and to ensure products are from 3M authorized distributors.

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  • 3M recommends purchasing our products from a 3M authorized distributor or dealer only. This offers the greatest assurance that you will receive authentic 3M product.

    If you need help identifying 3M authorized distributors and dealers in your area, please contact 3M Help Center or 1 (888) 364-3577 in the United States. In Canada, please contact 3M Canada Customer Service at 1 (800) 364-3577.

    If you need help identifying 3M authorized distributors and dealers in your area, please contact 3M Help Center or 1 (888) 364-3577 in the United States. In Canada, please contact 3M Canada Customer Service at 1 (800) 364-3577.

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