NIOSH approved respirators are available from many manufacturers in various types, models and sizes, and can be used in a variety of occupational environments. The most common types of respirators in healthcare are N95 filter face respirators (FFR), surgical N95 FFR and PAPR.
Of these three options, many healthcare practitioners have the least knowledge of PAPR. PAPR is an air purifying respirator that uses a blower to force air through the filter element or canister into the wearer's breathing area. This process generates airflow in a tight-fitting mask or loose hood or helmet, which provides a higher distribution protection factor (APF) than the reusable elastic non-powered air purifying half mask (half mask) or N95 FFR. PAPR can be used in health care procedures in which HCP is exposed to a greater risk of aerosolized pathogens causing acute respiratory infections.
PAPR may have a close-fitting half or full or loose cover, hood or helmet. Its OSHA APF is at least 25 (for loose hoods and helmets), 50 (for tight-fitting half masks) and 1,000 (for full face shapes), as well as some loose hoods and helmets. The manufacturer’s tests show that its APF is 1,000.