how to choose n95 masks
March 2nd, 2020

How to Choose N95 Masks?

Is it true that N95 masks with breathing valves have poor protection? What is the difference between N95, R95, P95 masks? How long does the N95 mask need to be replaced? Today I will do homework for 3M N95 masks, take a look at the differences between the 3M N95 mask models and introduce the correct way to wear N95 masks.

What is N95 mask?

The N95 mask is NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) standards and can filter 95% of non-oily particles with a diameter of 0.3 micrometers or more in the air. As long as the particle filter respirator meets the N95 standard and passes the NIOSH review, it can be called a N95 mask.


N95 masks in the United States are mainly industrial protective masks. They are dust masks that meet NIOSH standards. For some dusty working environments, N95 masks can prevent the inhalation of harmful airborne particles. N95 masks are also good for mountain fire smoke pollution. Protective effect. Therefore, N95 masks are generally easier to buy in hardware stores and home improvement stores. If you want to do carpentry, stir cement, etc. at home, you may also consider wearing N95 masks for protection.


What is the difference between N95, R95, P95 masks?

N95 is one of NIOSH's ratings for particulate filter respirator protection standards. "N" means Not resistant to oil, and "95" means the filtration efficiency is 95% or above. In addition to 95, there are classifications of N99 (the filtration efficiency is not less than 99%) and N100 (the filtration efficiency is not less than 99.97%).

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"R" means Somewhat resistant to oil, and "P" means Strongly resistant to oil / Oil proof. Both R95 and P95 masks can filter 95% of non-oily particles and oily particles with a diameter of 0.3 micrometers or more in the air. The service life of R95 masks is up to 8 hours in an oily particulate environment, while the service life of P95 masks can be up to 40 hours. Or 30 days. R series and P series masks also have R99 / R100 and P99 / P100 classification.


It can be seen from the above that N95 is actually the lowest of the nine grades of dust mask protection standards formulated by NIOSH.


N95 is the American standard. Other countries and regions in the world also have the same type of masks, but they have different names. For example, they are also called KN95 masks in China.


What is the difference between N95 mask and surgical mask?

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Medical surgical masks can isolate large particles such as droplets, and the outer layer is a waterproof layer, which can block liquid splash. However, the surgical mask cannot effectively filter the fine particles in the air, and the surgical mask design is not sealed, and it cannot completely prevent air from entering the gap in the edge of the mask.


N95 masks are particulate protective masks, which can filter non-oily solid or liquid particles with a diameter of 0.3 micrometers or more. However, each time you wear a N95 mask, you must test the seal of the edge of the mask (Fit Test) to ensure that there is no leak Real protective effect. Therefore, N95 masks are not suitable for people with hair on their faces and children, because these people cannot guarantee the tightness of wearing N95 masks.


In addition, people with chronic respiratory disease, heart disease, or other people with breathing difficulties should consult their doctor before using N95 masks, because N95 masks will make it harder for the wearer to breathe.


Industrial N95 masks are mainly used when the air quality is not good, which can prevent or reduce the dust, pollen and germs in the air from entering the human respiratory organs, such as preventing haze and PM2.5. N95 masks can also filter aerosols carrying bacterial viruses with a diameter of 0.3 micrometers or more, so whenever a large epidemic spreads, N95 masks are also a popular choice for everyone's epidemic masks.


With regard to the choice of epidemic masks:


If the germs are mainly transmitted through large droplets (for example, the patient sprays droplets from sneezing or coughing on other people), it is more appropriate to wear ordinary waterproof surgical masks for protection.


If the particles of germs or harmful substances are relatively small and can be suspended in the air for a long time, a large number of them can be transmitted through the air, then the protective effect of wearing industrial N95 masks will be better. N95 masks are CDC approved tuberculosis, SARS and other airborne Minimum protective masks for diseases;


Medical / surgical N95 masks also meet the N95 standard in terms of particle filtering effect, but it can also be waterproof and prevent blood, body fluids and other liquids from penetrating into the mask. The FDA approved it as a surgical mask.


For the prevention of droplet-borne diseases such as influenza virus, ordinary people choose medical masks to be more cost-effective. New Coronavirus (2019 Novel Coronavirus) can also be transmitted through droplets and contact, similar to the way influenza viruses are transmitted .


First of all, the N95 mask itself can only block 95% of the particles (not 100% defense). When wearing the N95 mask, you must also follow strict procedures. If you use it incorrectly, the protective effect will be greatly reduced. A study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases in 2008 showed that the correct use of masks can effectively reduce the spread of influenza virus infection, but the use of P2 masks (equivalent to N95) without gas density testing and the use of medical surgical masks have no obvious effect difference.


And another study data shows that wearing a mask alone has no effect on preventing influenza, but the combination of wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently can reduce the chance of contracting influenza by 75%. Therefore, to prevent infection, the most important thing is to wash your hands frequently!


Is there any difference between different N95 masks?

N95 masks have many different colors, shapes and styles to choose from. Some shapes and style designs can better fit the face of some people and will be more suitable for individuals.

Picture from Internet, copyright belongs to original author


The CDC stated that as long as it is a NIOSH-approved product, it is used in a place that meets OSHA specifications, and the user wears a mask to test to ensure air density. Then no matter what color, shape or style, the N95 mask can achieve the same expectations. The protective effect, that is, "the filtering efficiency of non-oily particles with a diameter greater than 0.3 micrometers in the air reaches more than 95%".


How long can I wear the N95 mask?

According to the 3M official website's instructions, there is no clear rule on how long to wear the N95 mask, but it only says "When the mask is dirty, damaged, or feels difficult to breathe, leave the contaminated area and replace it with a new mask."


According to the CDC, practical experience shows that N95 masks can be used continuously or intermittently for 8 hours to maintain the effect. Whether they can be used for a long time depends on whether the N95 mask is dirty, whether it can continue to be sealed, and whether it affects breathing. The N95 mask needs to be reused. Pay attention to the problem of cross-contamination, and because the situation is different, the maximum number of safe re-use of N95 masks cannot be determined.


The CDC also states that prolonged use of N95 masks is better than taking them off and putting them on again, reducing the possibility of contamination. Especially in an environment where there is an epidemic germ in the air, if the mask is removed, it is difficult to ensure that the germs do not stick to the inside of the mask.


What to do after using N95 mask?

The N95 masks that you buy are basically disposable Disposable N95 masks (above left), and they should be discarded directly into the covered garbage bin after use. The US-approved reusable N95 masks / Reusable Respirators are actually gas mask styles (above right), and they can be used freely with filter mats, as long as the filter mats are replaced regularly.

Picture from Internet, copyright belongs to original author


According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), disposable masks can also be reused when there is a shortage of masks, as long as "the structural and functional integrity of the N95 mask is maintained, and the filter material is not physically damaged or Dirty "just fine. Therefore, disposable N95 masks cannot be washed with water or alcohol, because "cleaning" will destroy the structure of the mask and soil the filter layer.


However, in the prevention of germs, it is generally not recommended to reuse disposable masks, because after removing the mask, how to ensure that the inside of the mask is clean and hygienic and will not be contaminated by germs outside the mask or in the air is a problem.


How to wear N95 masks correctly?

Correct wearing method of N95 mask:


① Wash your hands and keep your hands clean;

② Select the N95 mask that suits your face shape, hold the outer layer of the mask with one hand, point your fingertips at the metal strip, and the metal strip with the side facing up, cover the nose and chin with the mask;

③ Pull the upper headband over the head and hang it in the back of the head, and pull the lower headband over the head and hang it under the neck and ears. People with long hair should hang the lower headband under the hair

④ Simultaneously start from the position of the bridge of the nose with both hands and fingers while pushing outwards while pressing the metal bar, so that the nose clamps against the bridge of the nose;

⑤ Check the air tightness after wearing the N95 mask every time, and cover the outside of the mask with both hands: if it is the version without breathing valve, quickly exhale (positive pressure) to check whether there is air leakage on the edge of the mask; Version, you should quickly inhale (negative pressure) to check for leaks.

⑥ If there is air leakage, you need to readjust the position of the nose clip or mask. If you can't seal it all the time, you should replace it with another N95 mask that fits your face better.


When you need to remove the mask, you can first loosen the lower headband hanging around the neck around the top of the head, and then release the upper headband hanging on the back of the head, so that your hands can avoid touching the outside of the mask and reduce the exposure to germs. probability.


Everyone must learn how to wear N95 masks correctly. Otherwise, professional protective masks that have been bought for a large price will not be cost-effective because they are not used properly and do not achieve the desired protection effect!



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June 14th, 2020

N95 is the certification level of American respirators, certified by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This type of mask can filter out more than 95% of non-oily particulate matter (aerosol) under the specified air flow (85L / min), so it is named N95. If it can filter more than 99% of particulate matter (aerosol), it is called N99 mask. In addition, corresponding to N95, <a href="">KN95 Mask</a> is a mask certified by China's GB2626-2006 Respiratory Protection Products Self-Suction Filtering Anti-Particle Respirator Standard. KN95 and N95 masks have the same protection level, but only follow the test standards of different countries. KN95 masks follow Chinese standards, and N95 masks follow American standards, both of which have a protection efficiency of not less than 95% for non-oily particulates (sodium chloride particulates for experiments).

April 3rd, 2020

Good timely information! With the shortages of medical supplies, especially in the West, there are a lot of people trying to sell 'fake' n95 masks right now, be careful! Though... any mask is better than no mask when it comes to protecting yourself against viruses! I wrote an article on a similar subject here: Take care and take precaution everyone!