Two surgical specialty associations have come together for the first time to protect dentists and doctors examining and treating patients who may have COVID-19 (coronavirus), but do not yet know they are infected.
The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS) and ENT UK have issued guidance calling on their members to protect themselves with FFP3 masks.
Evidence from China, Italy and the UK highlights the risk to doctors and dentists because they have to put their faces close to those of their patients to treat them. ENT (ears, nose and throat) and eye specialists have higher infection rates than any other doctors. In the UK some ENT doctors are very seriously ill with COVID-19 that they caught from patients. BAOMS and ENT UK say that only the best face mask, the FFP3, should be used for examining and treating even symptom-free patients.
BAOMS Chair Patrick Magennis said: “The risk for both oral and maxillofacial surgeons and our oral surgery colleagues is clear. Without symptoms we cannot recognise the patients who are infected. If we can’t protect ourselves, we should not be taking the chance because we need to keep well to treat others.”
ENT UK President Nirmal Kumar said: “AVOID, RESTRICT and ABBREVIATE. While there are limited supplies of FFP3 masks we have to avoid contact by cancelling activity, restrict activity to emergency and urgent care and work quickly to make the visit as short as possible.”
Full information is available on the BAOMS www.baoms.org.uk BAOS www.baos.org.uk and ENT UK www.entuk.org websites.