We thank Dr. Johnstone for his insightful comments, in response to our article, about the practical implications of the loss of smell caused by personal protective equipment. We agree that healthcare professionals commonly rely on their sense of smell to facilitate diagnosis of some conditions. As Dr. Johnstone reported, the first indication that a vaporizer is leaking might be when a member of the surgical team detects the characteristic odor of a potent volatile anesthetic. Physicians’ use of smell has also been evaluated to diagnose pseudomonas infections, and this ability might also be impaired by personal protective equipment.

N95 filtering facepiece respirators are designed to eliminate 95% of “most transmissible” particles from inspired air but are not resistant to oil and do not eliminate nuisance organic vapors. A person wearing an N95 mask may...

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