WHAT IS AN N95 MASK?
N95 masks are respiratory protective personal equipment (PPE) that are designed to fit close to your face and give extensive protection from harmful particles in the air you breathe. The design used for the edges of the masks provides an effective seal that provides extra protection beyond a basic surgical mask. For those looking to limit their exposure to potential contact with the coronavirus and other illnesses, these masks provide some of the best protection available to the public.
These masks are preferred by many due to the enhanced protection offered by both the seal and the material the masks are made out of. N95 masks are used by a variety of healthcare professionals handling the COVID-19 pandemic and are in high demand around the world due to their effectiveness.
N95 masks are made out of strong and flexible material with a seal around the rim that ‘sticks’ to your face and creates a strong seal. They are called N95 due to the fact that they do not keep out oils (Non-oil), versus masks branded with R or P that have partial or total resistance to oil. However, despite not being resistant to oil, N95 masks provide effective protection from airborne particles, often being used in surgical or construction settings as well as to protect one’s personal health.
As N95 masks can make it difficult for those with respiratory or cardiac issues to breathe, those more vulnerable to breathing issues should talk to their doctor before using an N95 mask. If your N95 mask is causing you to have difficulty breathing, remove it immediately, and seek medical attention.
Children should also look for alternate solutions to staying safe from airborne illnesses, as N95 masks are not designed to fit them. Surgical masks and other face-coverings can provide protection to children and those who can not wear N95 masks due to breathing issues.
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE N95 MASKS?
PPE is designed to help limit your exposure to harmful airborne particles and other disease contact points, and all respirators are designed to reduce as much exposure to harmful elements as possible. Our stock of N95 masks provides a 95% efficiency rate, which is the highest industry standard. This does not mean that 5% of particles are allowed through the mask, however, and is merely a general rating of how well our masks handle airborne particles of different sizes.
The effectiveness of an N95 mask also depends on how well taken care of the mask is and how long the mask has been worn. Masks that are damp are less effective. Masks that have also not been properly clean can also cause issues breathing and filtering airborne particles. If your masks can no longer stay dry, it will not be an effective piece of PPE and should be disposed of.
Finally, the effectiveness of a mask will depend on how many times it has been worn. Masks are created to be disposable, yet during times of great demand, this may not be possible. With each subsequent reuse of a mask, the effectiveness will go down.
HOW ARE N95 MASKS DIFFERENT THAN SURGICAL MASKS?
Surgical masks, like many cloth or homemade face masks, are not designed to fit against the face in order to create a seal. This seal is important to prevent as many airborne particles from reaching your nose and mouth as possible. This is also why many quality N95 masks come with the strip of flexible metal along with the nose of the mask; this helps the masks both keep their shape and stay snuggly fit against your face.
This fact, combined with the difference of material, surgical masks cannot provide the same level of protection as N95 masks. However, for those who cannot comfortably wear an N95 mask, a surgical mask or face covering should still be worn to protect against COVID-19.
We also offer a line of surgical masks for those who can not wear N95 masks or similarly constricting PPE. While these types of masks are not as effective as N95s, they are also authentic pieces of PPE shipped from the United States.
HOW DO I WEAR AN N95 MASK?
Before you wear an N95 mask, you must make sure your face is prepared for a tight seal by shaving any facial hair. In cases of an emergency, you should seek to get the tightest fit possible around facial hair. Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them before touching your face mask to keep from accidentally contaminating it.
To place the mask on your face, cup it in one hand. This motion looks similar to holding a baseball glove or turning a doorknob. Then, place the mask over your mouth and nose with the straps hanging down. The very bottom of your mask should go just beneath your chin for the best seal. Make sure the seal is tight before you move on to the straps.
While still holding your mask tightly to your face, pull the straps over your head and secure them over your head and just below your ears on the neck. Do not tug or pull on your mask, as this can strain the straps and cause damage to that would require you to throw the mask away.
Now, mold the nose piece by gently pressing down and running your fingers along the movable metal along the top part of your mask. This metal is designed to be flexible to ensure a comfortable and close fit around your nose as you wear your mask.
Make sure the metal is firmly pressed against your nose without being constricting or uncomfortable. If the metal is already bent too tightly against your nose, gently work with the top of your mask until the metal flexs into a comfortable state.
From here, you will want to touch your mask as little as possible throughout the time you are wearing it. When making small adjustments for comfort and fit, wash your hands before and after touching your mask to avoid contamination. The less you touch your mask, the less likely you are to accidentally damage it as well.
To later remove your mask, pull the straps over your head and hold them away from you. Do not touch the front part of your mask to avoid contamination. You should either immediately dispose of the mask if it is damaged, wet, or contaminated or store it in a clean airtight container. As the front part of your mask may be contaminated, it is extremely important that you keep it away from yourself and other surfaces.
HOW LONG DO N95 MASKS LAST?
According to the CDC, the maximum amount of time that an N95 mask should be worn is 8 to 12 hours. Disposable N95 masks are not designed to last longer than this; however, many can be properly cared for and reused in times when PPE needs to be preserved.
A properly cared for N95 mask can last upwards of 5 separate uses. However, masks that are worn for extended periods of time may not be able to properly filter airborne particles after several uses and exposure to the moisture of your breath.
If a mask is damaged or directly exposed to someone positive with an airborne illness, your mask should be immediately discarded upon removal. Make sure you properly inspect your mask each time before you put it on for damage to the seal, the straps, or the front of your mask.
WHERE CAN I BUY N95 MASKS?
You can buy N95 masks online and through local hardware stores. However, not all online sellers are made equal, and your local hardware store may have trouble keeping a full stock of effective and authentic N95 masks. Additionally, many will not want to leave their house without a mask so that they can go buy a mask.
Making sure your N95 mask is authentic and designed to be 95% effective is key to getting the most protection for your money, and this can be difficult to find locally or through traditional online retailers. Our mission is to provide authentic masks that provide real and reliable protection from airborne particles to our customers.