Worldwide healthcare systems have been tested by the pandemic. With no availability of a vaccine or the exact treatment against the coronavirus, medical experts have been doing their maximum effort in protecting the people that have contracted the virus. Along with their maximum effort is the constant reminder of wearing masks in public. In fact, countries have issued masks mandates that force their people to wear masks anywhere. This is in line with their covid-19 response and with the guidance of the medical experts. Medical experts have suggested people wear masks that will provide them protection against the virus. The most recommended mask is the N95 mask.
What is an N95 mask?
The N95 mask has established its reputation as the most recommended mask by medical experts. With its filtration ability, the N95 mask is no stranger in the game of protection. Before the pandemic, the N95 mask has been a staple in hospitals.
The N95 mask has straps and is wrapped around the head. The straps of the N95 mask support the mask in giving a tight seal around the area of the nose and mouth. With the tight seal, the N95 mask has little to no room for leakage. The N95 mask has an advantage compared to any other masks available on the market. Made from non-latex materials, the N95 mask is not known to induce any form of irritation. The N95 mask works both in inhalation and exhalation. Particles from the outside are filtered by the N95 mask through its engineered filter. The same goes for the particles inside the N95 mask.
How effective is the N95 mask?
Capable of filtering up to 95% of particles of 0.1 microns in size and bacteria of 3.0 microns in size, the N95 mask is surely at the top of its game. In a study conducted by a group of scientists from the United States of America, the N95 mask exhibited an advanced efficiency infiltration. Particles under laser were found to be of small quantity as the subject talks while the N95 mask is donned. The spread of the particles while the N95 mask is donned, is much slower than any other masks tested. This evidence proves that an N95 mask is an effective tool against the coronavirus.
Health issues wearing the N95 mask
There are several reports that certify the N95 mask as obstruction of breathing. This is true in the sense that the N95 mask is usually a closed-cup mask. People with breathing problems are not advised to wear the N95 mask. Aside from that, there are reports that certify the N95 mask as a contributor to a sore throat. Is this true?
Yes, this is because people wearing the N95 mask cannot be heard clearly when talking. With this, people with N95 masks speak louder in order to be heard. Maintaining a loud voice can strain the vocal cords and this leads to a sore throat.
Another contributing factor is the cleanliness of the mask. The dirtier the mask, the more prone it is to contribute to a sore throat.
Tips on how to avoid sore throat with your mask on
- A clean mask is a safety mask. If your N95 mask is already showing signs of discoloration and wetness, discard the mask immediately. If your N95 mask still looks good and you feel that you can use it again, do not try using the mask without disinfecting the mask.
- Handwashing is the key. The World Health Organization certifies that proper handwashing can safeguard a person against germs and bacteria. Before wearing the N95 mask, make sure that your hands are clean. After washing the hands, use rubbing alcohol to strengthen your defense.
- Keep your hand off of your face. As much as possible, avoid touching your N95 mask and your face as well. Your face can be home to unknown microorganisms.
- Do not speak too often. If you have your N95 mask on, do not remove it when talking. Studies show that rapid transmission happens when people are talking. If it is a need to talk while your N95 mask is on, you can talk but in a modulated voice. As much as possible, do not strain your vocal cords by amplifying your voice.
If you want to talk without straining your vocal cords, there are protective masks that provide necessary protection against the virus. These masks are proven to be more comfortable than the N95 mask.
The surgical mask may not be as efficient as the N95 mask but it still offers protection. A surgical mask has 3-ply protection. The outside layer surgical mask prevents the wearer from contacting any form of liquid substances and small to medium-sized particles. The inside layer of the surgical mask prevents the wearer from further spreading unknown bacteria that are present from the wearer’s breath. Also, the inside layer of the surgical mask is capable of holding liquid substances from the wearer such as saliva, mucus, and blood.
The KN95 mask is the Chinese alternative of the American N95 mask. This mask functions like the N95 mask. This is a NIOSH-approved and FDA-cleared mask. So, there is no need for you to worry about the legitimacy of the mask.
A cloth mask may not be as effective as the N95 mask but it has the convenience and the comfort that the N95 mask does have in smaller quantities. The cloth mask is made from woven fabric and is the most convenient protective mask available on the market. People often use cloth masks with a face shield on top for secured protection.