N95 safety masks offer superior protection when compared with regular medicinal masks. They have high efficiency at capturing particles that pass through it. A regular N95 face mask will block 95% or more of all small particles and microorganisms. To achieve maximum protection, it needs to be used correctly because it is possible to use an N95 safety mask respirator and be just as exposed as a person not wearing one.
Fitting The Mask
Unlike regular surgical masks, N95 safety face masks were designed to better fit the human face and leave little to no gaps at all. If the mask is fitted correctly, no unfiltered air will get inside. At the same time, the air exhaled by the user will get filtered, reducing the chance of contaminating others. To ensure it fits properly, the side that has a metal band needs to be placed on the nose bridge. It needs to be pressed down so that it will have the same shape as the nose and reduce gaps.
The straps on the mask must not cross over each other and they should be adjusted properly so that they do not slip. If the straps are placed correctly, the mask will have a snug fit and will not have gaps.
Lastly, facial hair can affect the effectiveness of a protective face mask. It can cause the mask to not sit properly on the skin and allow unfiltered air to be inhaled. A good practice is to shave and avoid having facial hair when wearing an N95 safety face mask.
Proper Handling Is Crucial
The way the mask is put on and how it is taken off is very important. When putting the mask on, it is better to have the hands washed right before. This ensures that the mask is not contaminated from the moment it is put on. When taking it off, it must be disposed of immediately. Once disposed of, the hands need to be properly washed again. The surface of the mask may have been contaminated and it can transfer to the hands.
While wearing the mask, it is important to avoid touching it. The hands may be contaminated and may transfer the contaminants onto the surface of the mask. To avoid this, it is recommended to properly adjust the mask, fit it correctly, and ensure it does not slip from the moment it is put on. If it is placed correctly, there will be no valid reason to touch it except for when it has to be taken off.
Once a mask is used, it should not be reused. It is uncertain how long it will take until the contaminants on the surface of the mask will no longer be a threat. Leaving the mask around may contaminate other surfaces. The proper way to deal with a used mask is to throw it immediately once it is taken off. When putting a mask on, it is important to always use a new one. An N95 safety mask respirator is no longer safe to use once it has been taken off. It also loses some of its protection properties due to the humidity that passes through it as it affects the filtering layers.