N95 respirator is designed to achieve close facial fit and protect the wearer from airborne particles and liquid contamination.
When subject to careful testing, N95 respirator blocks at least 95 percent of small test particles (0.3 micron). The filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of other face masks if fitted properly.
As a standard protective gear in many industries, N95 respirator has become a popular one to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs among the general public due to its effectiveness and comfort. It is also recommended for protection of healthcare workers who come in direct contact with patients by many health bodies and associations.
To have a better understanding of N95 respirator, here’s what you need to know:
Shape: N95 respirators come in different shapes, the most popular ones are N95 cone respirator and flat fold ones. The shape of the respirator is often related to the wearer’s preference. The vertical flat folded style is more flexible around the edges and often fits well with goggles or helmets, and it be folded easily when it’s not in use.
Materials: Each respirator is crafted with four or five layers of support that contain melt-blown cotton, non-woven fabric, electrostatic cotton, or activated carbon non-woven. N95 respirator has at least minimum filtration efficiency of 95%, yet it’s important to select one filter with low breathing resistance as not all the filters are the same.
Exhalation Valve: Exhalation valve is designed to release hot and humid exhaled breath quickly, and to help preventing an unpleasant buildup of heat inside the facepiece and to increase comfort for the wearers. Although it’s not required for effective use, you can find a similar model with an exhalation valve for almost any N95 respirator.
Nosepiece and Headstraps: The common materials of nosepiece are sponge foam, latex foam and PU foam. With its soft feature, nosepiece is design to provide more comfortable wearing experiences to the wearers. Headstraps are used to adjust ear-loop length. Both nosepiece and headstraps are the important components of N95 respirator as they help to the masks fit tightly against the wearers’ faces for full effectiveness.
The side-effect of N95 respirator is it can make the wearer more difficult to breathe, especially if one has chronic cardiac or respiratory condition. Always consult your doctor before using N95 respirator if you have breathing problems, emphysema, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardio-pulmonary, and immune compromised medical condition problems.
Both facemasks and respirators offer a physical barrier to contact with airborne contaminants. They reduce the risk of contracting virus when used correctly. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness. It is important to recognize that the optimal way to prevent airborne transmission is to use a combination of interventions and preventive measures.