Masks have quickly become a part of our everyday lives. With so many options, it’s hard to know which one to choose. There is no question that the N95 mask is touted as the gold standard for healthcare but is it the right option for other industries and individuals? Here’s everything you need to know about the masks.
What’s important for you to know about N95 masks?
What is an N95 Mask?
An N95 respirator mask is a face mask used to protect against airborne particles. According to the CDC the N stands for “not resistant to oil” and the 95 means the mask blocks 95% of airborne particles. N95 masks are recommended by the CDC, NIOSH, OSHA, and WHO.
How should an N95 mask fit?
Unlike other masks, in order to be the most effective, the N95 mask must fit properly. The mask is designed to form a seal protecting the nose and mouth. In order to do so, the mask must fit tightly on the face to ensure the seal.
Who should use N95 masks?
Healthcare workers and first responders should have priority over the general public in acquiring N95 masks. However, as we see the production of masks increase, the N95 is the best option for workers across all industries.
Who should not use an N95 mask?
Children as well as adults with facial hair should not use N95’s due to an inability to achieve a proper seal. Also, anyone with respiratory or cardiac health issues should check with their doctor prior to use.
Can I reuse my N95 mask?
According to the CDC, N95 masks can be reused depending on the conditions in which the mask was used previously. For example, if the mask was worn during close contact with a COVID patient, the mask should be discarded. Most healthcare facilities utilize shields over the N95 mask to protect the integrity of the mask. Masks that have come into contact with bodily secretions should also be discarded.
How do I care for my N95 mask?
If you’re going to reuse your N95 mask and have not experienced the situations list above, it’s important to know how to best care for the mask to in order to maintain the mask’s effectiveness.
Always wash and sanitize your hands before putting the mask on or taking it off.
Hang the mask or place in a paper bag between uses and do not allow the mask to touch other masks to avoid cross-contamination.