Why You Should Use a N-95 Mask
Many specialists have advised individuals to switch from fabric or surgical masks to more effective N-95 and KN-95 masks as health authorities try to stop spread of the extremely dangerous virus.
The current mask recommendations from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that people should select the mask that is both the most protective and comfortable for them to continuously wear. However, the EPA acknowledged that some masks—like N95 respirators—are more effective than others, like cotton and surgical masks, when it issued more specific information regarding the variations between masks.
Many people who have been dealing with COVID-19 for almost 2 years are still unsure of which masks to use and why. In an apparently mistaken effort to protect supplies for healthcare professionals, federal health officials specifically instructed the general population not to use masks in the early stages of the pandemic.
The CDC then revised their advice in April 2020 to advocate masks, but explicitly asked individuals to don cloth face covers rather than medical masks to free up inventory for healthcare personnel.
Although the supply has now stabilized, many Americans still choose to use fabric or flimsier face masks in place of KN95 or N95 respirators. Here are some important facts about wearing a mask.
What are the variations among masks?
The old adage “any mask is preferable than none” still holds true. But not all masks are created equal.
Thanks to its snug fit and synthetic material, which is constructed of a web of small fibres charged with electrical energy, a N95 respirator used properly may filter out up to 95% of airborne pollutants. KN95 masks, which are N95s’ Chinese equivalents, or the P2 masks in Australia are designed to fulfill the same filtration requirement, but their production is subject to less government regulation. While KF94 masks are produced in South Korea. They can filter out up to 94 percent of particles when produced in accordance with Korean government regulations and worn correctly.
A 2020 study reported in JAMA Internal Medicine found that surgical facemasks do not fit as snugly and offer much less filtration than N95s. Even though they serve as a protective border, cloth masks often offer less filtration than surgical masks.
What if I wish to continue donning surgical or cotton masks?
It’s a good idea to make sure your surgical or cotton masks are operating as well as possible if you intend to continue wearing them.
A mask’s efficiency is a result of how well it fits your face and how well the material filters. Your masks should fit snugly on your face with no obvious gaps at the top, bottom, or corners. Simple adjustments, such as wearing a fabric mask over a face mask to shield more of your face or threading the ear loops on the face mask to strengthen the fit, can enhance protection.
Can I use a N95 again?
The N95 mask is only meant to be worn once. According to advice from specialists if you really have to re-wear a mask, you can do so by placing it in a brown paper bag and storing it in a clean, room-temperature setting for a few days. By that time, all the bacteria on the mask should have perished. However, you must throw away your mask if it becomes obviously dirty or no longer fits snugly.