The mask has been our armor shield and safeguards in the war of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ideology of an N95 mask is that it is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. CDC recommends all healthcare workers to wear these masks. N95 mask meets the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) N95 classification of air filtration, meaning that it filters at least 95% of airborne particles. One needs to know that it protects against particulates but not against gases or vapors.

What one needs to know about the N-95

N-95 Principle

  1. a) Inertial Impaction: Aerosol or dust particles typically 1 micron or larger with enough inertia to prevent them from flowing around the fibers in the filtration layers slam into the mask material and get filtered.
  2. b) Diffusion: Particles smaller than 1 micron, 0.1 microns or smaller undergo diffusion and get stuck to fibrous layers of the filter while undergoing Brownian motion around the tortuous porous matrix of the filter fiber.
  3. c) Electrostatic attraction: This electrocharged polymer attracts both large and small oppositely charged particles and traps them.

How to Wear the N95 Mask?

It must cover both the nose and mouth and have a snug fit to work best to its capacity. The correct fit of the mask requires contact with no beards and no facial hair. Even minute one-day beard growth has been shown to hamper the seal of the mask. One needs to use both straps on the mask to hold it in place to prevent air leak.

How to check the Mask Fit?

One needs to do a user seal check for accessing snug fit.

  • Negative pressure check
    Place both hands completely over the mask and inhale sharply. The mask should pull into your face. If air leaks around your face or eyes, adjust the nosepiece and straps and repeat the positive pressure check.
  • Positive pressure check
    Put your hands over the mask and breathe out sharply. No air should leak out of the mask if it fits properly. If air leaks out, readjust the nosepiece and straps and repeat the negative pressure check.
  • When to discard the N95 Mask
    • If soiled on the inside, if it is deformed or torn
    • When the mask gets clogged, it is difficult to breathe
    • N-95 the mask should not be cleaned or disinfected

Precautions with N95masks:-

  • People with chronic respiratory, cardiac, or other medical conditions that make breathing difficult should check with their health care provider before using an N95. It respirator makes it more difficult to breathe in these conditions.
  • All FDA-cleared N95 mask are labeled as “single-use,” disposable devices. It is not designed for children or people with facial hair
  • To safely discard your N95 respirator, place it in a plastic bag, and put it in the trash. Advised to follow hand hygiene after handling the used respirator.

Thus, wearing the mask is the most important and most effective prevention added social distancing and hand hygiene.

Posted 14 Sep, 2020

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