Options to Prolong Existing and Surge Capacity Supplies of Respirators during Infection with Novel Influenza A Viruses Associated with Severe Disease

This webpage provides options for prolonging existing and surge capacity supplies of respirators during an infectious disease outbreak or pandemic. These options are for use by professionals with responsibility to manage a healthcare institution’s respiratory protection program.

Supplies of NIOSH-certified and FDA-cleared Surgical N95 filtering facepiece respirators can become depleted during an influenza pandemic or wide-spread respiratory pathogen outbreak. When facing depleted inventories as a result of these types of events, healthcare facilities should consider a combination of approaches to conserve supplies of N95 respirators:

  • Minimize the number of individuals who need to use respiratory protection through the preferential use of engineering and administrative controls;
  • Use alternatives to N95 respirators (e.g., other classes of filtering facepiece respirators, elastomeric half-mask and full facepiece air purifying respirators, powered air purifying respirators) where feasible;
  • Implement practices allowing extended use and/or limited reuse of N95 respirators; and
  • Prioritize the use of N95 respirators for those personnel at the highest risk of contracting or experiencing complications of infection.
Page last reviewed: April 9, 2020