The N95 respirator face masks are a great option to have if you are looking for a mask that can filter the air that you are breathing. Most people would consider it as the first line of defense when it comes to cleaning, avoiding flu, sitting in a hospital waiting room, or when going to crowded places. The N95 respirator face masks are general-purpose respirator masks. It can be used to prevent dust, smoke, pollen, and viruses from entering the body.
If you’re curious, or in a hurry:
The coronavirus outbreak has urged people to purchase and stock up on masks. But the question is – what is the best face mask to use? Others would use surgical or antiviral face masks but according to doctors, it does not provide the proper filtration and that there is still a chance that the virus will enter the respiratory system. What about N95 respirator face masks? Are they effective? Can they provide the proper filtration to avoid being exposed to the virus?
In this post, we will tackle N95 respirator face masks. We will discuss how the masks work, what makes them different from other masks, and how effective they can be when it comes to filtering air particles. We have also gathered a list of the best N95 respirator face masks that are available on the market. Read the rest of the post below for more tips and information.
We are not doctors or related to any medical institution. We have gathered information from reputable online resources that we can share with readers. If you have more questions or confirmations about Coronavirus, we recommend that you visit your local doctor. For an in-depth discussion about coronavirus and for more updates, you can visit The World Health Organization or the NSW Health – Novel Coronavirus.
Top 10 Best N95 Respirator Face Masks
What Are N95 Respirator Face Masks?
N95 respirator face masks are a type of respirator masks that fits closely to the face. They are designed to filter the small particles from the air. A mask that has an N95 designation means that it can filter out 95 percent of particles from the air. This includes particles that are as small as 0.3 microns. On the other hand, the N95 respirator face masks are not suitable for children and people with facial hair. Moreover, this type of face mask can make it difficult to breathe so those who have lung issues may find it even harder to breathe while wearing the mask.
✅ Video – What Does N95 Stand For?
For more information about what an N95 respirator is and what it stands for, you can watch the video below.
How Do They Work?
The N95 respirator face masks can prevent the respiratory system from breathing in dust particles, allergens, pollution, and other harmful air particles. They slow down the flow of air which is crucial in trapping the tiny particles in the filter fibers of the mask. As far as filtering is concerned, breathing slowly makes the mask more effective.
Most of the time, a non-woven fibrous filter is attached to the mask which can effectively capture all the particles flowing to it while the user is inhaling air. The fibers of the filter create a crisscross pattern that results in a web of layers. Other masks make use of activated carbon filters. It also makes use of the absorption process which effectively traps all the particles are captured by the carbon.
What Makes a Good N95 Respirator Face Mask?
The N95 respirator face masks filter particles out of the air that you are breathing. The mask to face seal has to be highly effective. It should have elastic straps that go wound the head and an adjustable nose clip that creates the best seal. The best N95 masks should be able to filter pollution, bacteria, viruses, allergens, and dust.
How Many Times Can the Same N95 Mask is Used Before Replacing?
There are disposable and reusable N95 respirator face masks that are sold on the market. Disposable masked should be disposed of after use. Most reusable masks wear out slowly and most of the filters will still work even of the masks are already dirty. On the other hand, the main source of the leakage is not on the filter bit on the edges of the mask. When dirt is trapped on the mask, the air passes through the filter slowly which forces more air at the seal.
When the mask is clogged, it becomes harder to breathe. If this happens, you need to replace the mask. Moreover, do not use the mask if it is wet or dirty on the inside when it is torn or deformed.
✅ Video – Disposable Respirators
You can watch the video below for more information about disposable respirators and how to wear them properly.
Surgical/Antiviral Face Masks Vs N95 Respirator Face Masks
Surgical or antiviral masks face masks that are primarily intended to keep the particles breathe out by the wearer like saliva from contaminating the surroundings. On the other hand, N95 respirator face masks protect the wearer against hazardous particles. Surgical face masks fit loosely over the face and do not include a filter. The N95 respirators fit tightly to the face and create a seal between the face and respirator to make sure that goes through the filter.
✅ Video – Respirators Vs Surgical Masks
For a more in-depth discussion about the difference between surgical masks and N95 respirators, press the play button below.
Can N95 Respirator Masks Offer More Protection?
Surgical or antiviral face masks do not offer protection against airborne viruses. For starters, they do not fully seal off at the nose and mouth which allows particles to get in. Moreover, the small particles can easily get through the material of the mask. According to Mark Woolhouse, a Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, “They might help, but it’s not clear they give you total protection.”
On the other hand, respirators provide more protection because they are designed to prevent 95% of small particles from entering the mouth and nose area. They are equipped with a filter that prevents harmful elements from entering the respiratory system. On the other, they should be worn properly in order for them to work.
How to Use an N95 Mask
It is very important to make sure that you are properly wearing an N95 respirator face mask to make sure that it will effectively filter the air. Read and follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. The mask should cover both the nose and mouth. Take note that if the mask does not have a snug fit, it will not work properly. People with beards should shave first before wearing the mask. Even a one-day beard growth can let air leak in. Use both straps of the mask to keep it in place and prevent leakage.
✅ Video – How to Wear and Remove N95 Mask
Check out the video below for instruction and demonstration on the proper way to wear and remove N95 masks.
Can N95 Masks Prevent Coronavirus?
Doctors in China are urging the public to wear masks in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Most people use surgical masks while others opt to wear N95 respirator masks because it works better as compared to the surgical ones. But can N95 masks prevent coronavirus?
According to Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, wearing an N95 respirator mask is a serious business. The reason for this is that the masks are usually worn by health care workers who are required by the law to undergo an annual fit test to make sure that the masks form a tight seal on their faces so that contaminated air will not pass through.
Schaffner added that this type of mask is difficult to wear because they are uncomfortable and some people may find it hard to breathe. He says that “that’s the kind of protection that really works.” N95 respirator face masks are available on the market but there is no recommendation from health agencies to wear them.
✅ Video – Will a Mask Protect You From Coronavirus?
For more information about whether or not a mask can protect you from coronavirus, you can watch the video below.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing N95 Respirator Face Masks
One of the things that you need to consider when purchasing N95 respirator face masks is the NIOSH rating. There are some respirators that do not have NIOSH approval. While these masks look perfectly safe, it is difficult to know the level of protection that they provide without the NIOSH rating. Take note that an approved N95 mask can filter at least up to 95% of particulates that are larger than 0.3 microns in diameter.
Fit and Adjustability
Most of the N95 respirator face masks are “one size fits most”. However, the best option is to purchase from a manufacturer that provides customization for an overall fit. The only way for the mask to work is for it to perfectly fit into your face. Here are the things that you need to look for when it comes to the fit and adjustability of the mask.
The best N95 respirator face masks are those with adjustable elastic straps with multiple points of contact with the mask. The straps should be anchored behind the ears and can easily be tightened and loosened. The goal is to form a tight seal that prevents contaminants from penetrating the mask.
Soft Metallic Nose Piece
It is vital that the N95 mask is air-tight sealed. Most masks that are sold on the market have a malleable metal nose piece that can be customized according to the facial structure of the wearer. The mask should have a flexible nosepiece that can form a secure fit around the top of the mask.
Positive and Negative Pressure
The best N95 respirator face mask should be tightly sealed around the lower face so that it can work properly. You can test the seal for positive and negative pressure. As you inhale deeply, the mask should draw inward which indicated goof negative pressure. As you exhale, the respirator valve should open smoothly which indicates good positive pressure.
Another thing that you need to consider when purchasing N95 respirator face masks is the multiple layering of the mask. The mask should be able to filter different types of particulate matter. Multiple layers are designed to filter out specific contaminants. The mask can include activated carbon filtration for improved smoke protection or medical-grade mesh for advance protection against viruses.
Carbon filters are useful under certain conditions. Activated charcoal can absorb and neutralize biological contaminants as well as controlling unpleasant odors from chemical dust or smoke.
Multiple Filtering Layers
N95 masks are known for the number of protective layers that protect the user from the outside environment. There are models with one or two layers of protection while there are those with three or more layers that provide thorough filtration.
Make sure that you choose a durable mask that is made from high-quality materials. If you have stored the mask directly in sunlight or if it got wet, make sure that you examine the inside of the mask to determine if there is any damage. Before using the mask, make sure that you check the filter and body to find out if it is still safe to use.
2019 Novel Coronavirus FAQs
What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus or nCoV is a new strain of the virus that belongs to the coronavirus family. The virus comes from animals and transmitted to humans. In humans, the virus causes respiratory infection with symptoms that includes cough, fever, and shortness of breath. The infections are often mild but are potentially lethal.
✅ Video – What is Coronavirus?
Watch the video below for more information about coronavirus and its symptoms.
Is It Dangerous?
The nCov is dangerous because it can be transmitted through droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person. This is why people wear face masks to avoid getting in contact with the virus. nCov is a new strain of the virus and so far, there is no vaccine or treatment for it.
Is There a Cure?
So far, there is no known cure for nCOv. Health care personnel can only alleviate the symptoms of the patient. Since nCov is a new virus, scientists are still working for a possible cure for the virus.
There are many kinds of N95 respirator face masks that are sold on the market. Make sure that you check and compare products so that you can find the best one. It is always best to err on the side of caution and do what you can to prevent getting infected by the virus especially if you live in a place where there is a confirmed nCoV case. Thank you for reading!