N95 Respirators And Surgical Masks
N95 respirators and surgical masks are examples of personal protective equipment used to protect the wearer's face from airborne particles and liquids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also supervise N95 respirators.
It is important to realize that the best way to prevent airborne transmission is to use comprehensive interventions across control levels, not just personal protective equipment.
N95 respirators are not for public use
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that the public wear N95 respirators to prevent respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19). These are the key supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical emergency personnel, as recommended by the current CDC guidelines.
A surgical mask is a loose-fitting disposable device that forms a physical barrier between the wearer's nose and mouth and creates potential pollutants in the immediate environment. Surgical masks cannot be shared. They can be labeled as surgical, isolation, dental or medical procedure masks. They may wear masks or not. These are often called masks, although not all masks are regulated as surgical masks.
The thickness of medical masks and their ability to protect you from liquids vary. These characteristics may also affect the ease with which you breathe through the mask and the effectiveness of the surgical mask to protect you.
If worn properly, medical masks can help block large droplets that may contain bacteria (viruses and bacteria) and prevent them from entering your mouth and nose. Medical masks can also help reduce contact with saliva and respiratory secretions.
Although medical masks can effectively block splashes and large particle droplets, from a design perspective, masks cannot filter or block tiny particles in the air that may be spread through coughing, sneezing, or certain medical procedures. Surgical masks also cannot completely protect the skin from bacteria and other pollutants, because the fit between the surface of the mask and the face is not high.
Medical masks should not be used more than once. When the mask is damaged, contaminated, or has difficulty breathing, remove the mask, discard it safely, and replace it with a new one. To safely throw away your mask, put it in a plastic bag and throw it into the trash can. Wash your hands after touching a used mask.
The N95 respirator is a respiratory protection device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very effective filtering of particulate matter in the air. Note that the edge of the respirator is designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth. Surgical N95 respirators are commonly used in health care and are a subset of N95 filtering face mask respirators (FFRs), commonly referred to as N95s.
The similarities between surgical masks and n95 respirators are as follows:
They are tested for fluid resistance, filtration efficiency (particulate filtration efficiency and bacterial filtration efficiency), flammability and biocompatibility.
They should not be shared or reused.
General protective measures for N95 respirators
Patients suffering from chronic respiratory disease, heart disease or other diseases that cause breathing difficulties should check with healthcare providers before using N95 respirators, because N95 respirators make it more difficult for the wearer to breathe.
Some models have an exhalation valve, which can make exhalation easier and help reduce heat build-up. Note that when sterile conditions are required, an N95 respirator with an exhalation valve should not be used.
All N95 respirators approved by the FDA are labeled as "single use". If your respirator is damaged or dirty, or if you have difficulty breathing, you should take out the respirator, discard it properly, and replace it with a new one. To safely throw away your N95 respirator, put it in a plastic bag and throw it into the trash can. Wash your hands after using the N95 Particulate Respirator.
N95 respirators are not designed for children or people with facial hair. Because children and people with facial hair cannot get proper cooperation, N95 respirators may not provide adequate protection.
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