N95 Masks: Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
The rise of coronavirus cases across the United States has led to a rise in face mask sales, as the government actively promotes the wearing of face coverings as an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And even though the new face mask options have emerged from hand-made breathable cotton to stylish picks and lightweight masks for running, N95 masks are still considered a top-notch mask type providing a high level of protection against the coronavirus.
Despite the popularity of N95 masks, many people are still unaware of what “N” and “95” stand for and why N95 masks are the best protective measure against COVID-19.
We will help you learn everything you need to know about N95 masks. Here, you will find information on what N95 stands for, how N95 differs from other mask types, how to wear it properly, where to buy N95 masks for sale, and so much more!
Q: What is an N95 Mask?
An N95 mask is a polyester-based disposable particulate respirator designed to provide protection against non-oil-based particles. It is officially approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The letter “N” stands for “Non-oil”, and number “95” refers to the filtration rate of the mask, which is 95%.
Q: What Makes N95 Masks So Good?
There are many different types of masks these days, but not all of them provide the same level of protection as N95. A 3-Ply or handmade mask can protect you from large droplets, but they do not protect you from airborne particles.
N95 masks have 95% filtration capacity rate, and it catches the particles as small as 0.3 microns (for your information, COVID-19 has a diameter of approximately 0.06 to 1.4 microns).
Q: Do N95 Masks Have Ear Loops?
A NIOSH-certified N95 mask has braided elastic headbands to help you keep the respirator securely in place. This is important, because in contrast to ear loops, the elastic headbands make the mask sit tighter on your head creating enough barrier between the mask and your face. If you came across an N95 mask for sale that has ear loops, it’s not a real N95 mask!
Q: What Is the Difference Between a Surgical Mask and N95 Respirator?
The main difference between N95 respirator masks and surgical masks is that the latter are treated with hydrophobic treatment which helps isolate droplets, and the outer layer is waterproof, which can block liquid splash.
Surgical masks are designed to be worn by healthcare professionals during surgical procedures. Because surgical masks are meant for use only during surgeries, the main requirement is fluid resistance – the ability of a mask to resist liquids. In contrast to N95 respirators, surgical masks do not provide the same level of protection against the smallest particles equal to 0.3 microns.
Q: What Is the Difference Between a Standard N95 and N95 Medical Mask?
Some medical workers do not undergo surgical procedures, such as high-pressure stream of liquids, and the main hazard for them comes from the daily exposure to airborne droplets containing viruses and bacteria, such as coughing and sneezing.
In this case, a standard surgical mask does not provide them with sufficient level of protection, and an N95 medical mask is a better choice for them.
Q: How Do I Know That My N95 Mask Meets the U.S. Requirements?
The NIOSH conducted tests on N95 masks that were imported, and some of them “filtered out as little as 35% of particles”. The results of the tests were published in one of the Wall Street Journal articles back in May.
So, when you look for an N95 mask for sale, make sure the chosen mask has the NIOSH stamp on it. It means that this manufacturer is officially approved, as their masks have been evaluated and tested by NIOSH.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the following are the signs that the N95 mask may be faulty:
- No markings at all
- No NIOSH stamp
- “NIOSH” is spelled incorrectly
- No approval number
- Presence of decorative add-ons
- Presence of ear loops instead of headbands
Q: How Long Can I Wear an N95 Filter Mask?
There are no established rules on how long one can wear the N95 mask and when it should be thrown out. However, you should replace it with a new one when the mask gets dirty, looks damaged, or gives you difficulty breathing.
According to the CDC, N95 masks can be used continuously for 8 hours to maintain the effect. Whether or not you can use the mask for a longer period depends on whether it is dirty, still sealed, and whether it affects your breathing.
Q: How to Wear N95 Masks Correctly?
- Wash your hands first.
- Choose the N95 mask that fits your face shape. Holding the outer layer of the mask with one hand, grab the metal strip (the metal strip should be facing up), cover the nose and chin with the mask.
- Place the upper headband over the back of your head, and the lower one under the neck and ears. If your hair is long, place the lower headband under your hair.
- Untwist the straps. Position the N95 mask low on your nose.
- Mold the nosepiece to the shape of your nose by pushing downward and outward.
- Perform a fit check by placing both hands completely over the mask and exhale sharply. If the air leaks around your nose, adjust the nosepiece as described in step 5.
- Perform hand hygiene again after putting on the mask.
Q: Which N95 Mask Manufacturer Is Reliable?
The biggest and most reliable N95 mask manufacturer in the United States is “3M”. They came up with their first N95 mask back in the ‘70s. 3M is officially approved by NIOSH and registered by FDA. GF5 Masks only carries 3M N95 face masks.
Q: Where Can I Buy N95 Filter Masks?
Since the pandemic outbreak, visiting crowded places, like grocery and pharmacy stores is not safe anymore. So, the best and easiest way to find an N95 mask for sale is online shopping. GF5 Masks is a reliable supplier selling genuine 3M N95 masks that are NIOSH approved and FDA cleared.
The 3M N95 respirators offered by GF5 Masks are disposable masks with unique folded design that are both comfortable to use and provide a high level of protection. They are designed to direct exhaled air away from the nose panel which helps reduce eyewear fogging, while the braided headbands help keep the mask securely in place and minimize pulling of hair.
In the times when COVID-19 cases are still rising, it is crucially important to make the right choice of a face mask. Being recognized by NIOSH and FDA as one of the best, the N95 mask is likely what you need. So, don’t wait till the last minute after they have sold out. Buy your 3M N95 mask from GF5 Masks today!