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Mercy Urgent Care offering fit-testing for N95 respirator masks 

Mercy Urgent Care is now offering fit-testing for N95 and other respirator masks in an effort to help medical professionals, essential employees and at-risk individuals stay safe in these unprecedented and trying times.  

Whether you’re an employer or an individual needing a respirator mask for work, Mercy welcomes you to take advantage of its respirator mask fit-testing services, performed by an OSHA-trained professional. Especially during these unprecedented times, it’s important to ensure your team is outfitted with the correct size and model masks for each individual’s face. This test can be performed on N95, half-face and full-face respirators. 

As OSHA puts it: “A respirator can’t protect you if it doesn’t fit your face. It’s that simple.” 

To make an appointment with Mercy Urgent Care for a respirator mask fit test, call Ana Jimenez at 828-254-7576 or send an email to ajimenez@mercyurgentcare.org. Onsite workplace testing is available for workforce teams, and individual testing currently may be scheduled only at the West Asheville and South Asheville locations. Tests are $90 per person or $100 per person with a mask included, though interested parties should inquire about mask availability when booking an appointment.  

WHAT IS A FIT TEST? 

A “fit test” tests the seal between the respirator’s facepiece and an individual’s face. It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and should be performed at least annually. After passing a fit test with a respirator, the individual must use the exact same make, model, style, and size respirator on the job to ensure a proper fit. If the respirator doesn’t fit your face properly, contaminated air can leak into your facepiece, putting you at risk for breathing in hazardous substances. 

A fit test should not be confused with a user seal check, which is a quick check performed by the wearer each time the respirator is put on to determine if the respirator is properly seated to the face or needs adjusting. 

Mercy Urgent Care conducts qualitative fit-testing, a pass/fail test method that uses your sense of taste or smell to detect leakage into the respirator facepiece. Whether the respirator passes or fails the test is based simply on you detecting leakage of the test substance into your facepiece. Mercy uses both Saccharin, which leaves a sweet taste in the mouth, and Bitrex, which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, to test masks for leakage. 

For more information and other things to know prior to a fit test, visit mercyurgentcare.org/n95-respirator-mask-fit-testing. From one team of professionals to another: Stay safe!  

About Mercy Urgent Care: 

Mercy Urgent Care was founded in Asheville in 1985 as an outreach of the Sisters of Mercy, an international institute of Roman Catholic women founded in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland. Committed to sacredness of life, human dignity, mercy, justice, service and excellence, Mercy Urgent Care believes everyone should have access to convenient, affordable and high-quality healthcare. The Sisters of Mercy have served WNC since 1900, operating the former St. Joseph’s Hospital for nearly 100 years before its sale to Mission in 1998. 

Mercy Urgent Care has served more than one million patients in Western North Carolina. Donations to not-for-profit Mercy Urgent Care’s Catherine McAuley Mercy Foundation enable care throughout WNC in Brevard, Burnsville, Columbus, Weaverville, three Asheville locations and now Waynesville — providing more than a half-million dollars in charity care locally as well as sending medical teams and supplies internationally. More information about the organization and all locations can be found at www.mercyurgentcare.org. 

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