All of us have a lot of views and questions about N95 respirators such as what and who they are good for. Can the general public use them? Can N95 masks be reused? Are they suitable for everyone to use? How long is an N95 mask good for? And the list goes on...
In this article, we will answer some of the common questions people have about N95 respirators, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
1. What is an N95 particulate respirator?
An N95 mask (actually called an N95 Particulate Respirator or filtering face piece respirator) is a NIOSH-approved mask that is designed to protect the wearer from airborne particles. The N95 respirator filters non-oil-based particles and are 95% efficient at filtering these non-oil-based particles.
2. Why Is The N95 Respirator Commonly Used In The Healthcare Sector?
N95 respirators are commonly used in health care sectors for filtering out small virus and bacteria particles. They work excellently for infection control and they are also disposable. Healthcare workers do not have to worry about cleaning or decontaminating the mask while using N95 respirators because they can be disposed safely to prevent accidental infection or contamination.
3. Why Are N95 Respirators In Such High Demand?
N95 particulate respirators are very popular because everyone is eager for quality, highly personal protective equipment in the COVID wave and the N95 tops the list of PPE. It provides the wearer with the maximum amount of protection which is why everyone is choosing N95 as their primary choice to keep themselves safe from the virus, particularly in high risk situations. This has put N95 respirators on demand.
4. Can You Use An Expired N95 Respirator Or Reuse Non-Expired Mask?
Many health care organizations stock up on the large amounts of disposable respirators and these N95 respirators expire over years. Manufacturers of these respirators keep expiry dates on these products as they have components made of foam and rubber which can degrade. Some brands offer an electrostatic charge to the material of the respirators which, after a few years, the mask loses and the components present in it break or deteriorate over time. In this case, the expired respirator may not offer the same level of protection as it originally did in the beginning.
You need to follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding the expiry date of the masks so that you will up until what point the respirator mask offers its maximum, ideal protection.
5. Should The General Public Also Use N95 Respirators?
In early on in the pandemic, there was a huge demand for highly protective equipment like N95 masks. The N95 particulate respirators are used as a safety measure for healthcare professionals as they deal with many COVID-19 patients. After the initial surge in demand, manufactures were able to increase the supply of N95s on the global market. The general public can now access and use N95 respirators. If you are a person who is planning for a trip by air or rail or if you are working in a heavy crowd place you would do well to consider wearing an N95 mask because you are surround by a high volume of people whose infection status might be unclear, even to them. If you are wondering which N95 is good for you, below is a suggested N95 that is good for a number of situations and face types.
VitaCore CAN95e Black N95 - Earloop Version
This VitaCore CAN95e Black N95 - Earloop Version is available in two colors (black, and white) at Emerdepot. The CAN95e mask is a non-medical ear loop model and is made for use to the general public. This mask is free from materials like graphene and fiberglass and has Level 3 Fluid Resistance with >95% Filtration efficiency.
6. How Do I Know How Long My N95 Mask Is Working?
According to the CDC, you must not use an N95 respirator more than five times in total. If you see any deterioration in the mask or fraying of the straps you must stop using the mask as it loses its efficiency and does not provide a tight seal. If there is any physical damage at all the N95 mask will not provide adequate protection and needs to be thrown out. There are other methods for the decontamination of N95 respirators click here to know more about reusing, extended use, and recycling N95 masks.
7. Do N95 Respirators Need To Be Fit Tested Before Use?
The fit test is not necessary when you have the right size of respirator that fits you perfectly. But, you will need to undergo a fit test if you feel the N95 respirator you are wearing is not providing proper coverage. The fit test ensures that the respirator you are wearing has the correct size and shape to properly fit your face.
8. How Do I Check The Seal And Fit Of An N95 Respirator?
A respirator fit is tested is recommended before wearing, particularly in high risk situations. A fit test is performed in conjunction with annual training and the fit test determines the model and size of the N95 respirator for each unique individual. If the wearers face shape changes during the year, then the fit test must be performed again along with the user seal check before entering into the contaminated environment.
9. When Should I Avoid Wearing An N95 Respirator?
- N95 particulate respirators only protect against airborne particles therefore, they should not be worn in an atmosphere containing toxic levels of vapors or gases.
- Avoid wearing an N95 respirator in a hazardous atmosphere such as fire, a spill of an unknown chemical, or an explosion.
- Avoid wearing an N95 particulate respirator in certain industrial applications such as sandblasting, painting, and asbestos removal.
- Avoid wearing an N95 particulate respirator in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere.
If you are looking for the NIOSH and FDA-approved health care products, consider Emerdepot. We supply high-quality medical health care products including antifog faceshields, powder free gloves, safemask medicom and many others.