With healthcare workers sustaining injuries from the near-constant use of face masks, the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP) is offering advice on mask injuries and how they can be prevented.

The NPIAP position paper combines current evidence in both pressure injury prevention and personal protective equipment (PPE) science, the group says. The position paper notes “pressure and shear, known to cause pressure injuries in patients, are now causing pressure injuries in healthcare providers who, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are wearing PPE masks, face shields, and goggles for long periods at a time, day after day.”

N95 respirator masks carry a particularly high risk for injury because they are required to fit the face tightly, the position paper says: “Skin injury can also occur as a result of friction and the accumulation of moisture under the mask.”

The NPIAP collaborated with the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and the Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance to develop an evidence-based guideline to help prevent pressure injuries caused by N95 masks. The position paper is available here.