In Hong Kong, people are using N95 masks due to the fear of COVID-19, especially since the cases started being reported in its major cities. The World Health Organization (WHO) has only recently acknowledged the importance of face N95 masks. However, the demand for face N95 masks has surged since January in Hong Kong, facing shortages and high prices. According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the high demand has also been faced with almost tripling of the prices of face N95 masks.
Hong Kong’s Consumer Council received 477 complaints regarding counterfeit N95 masks and increased prices during this year, as opposed to only seven last year. However, this has been controlled as local suppliers and producers have stepped up to meet the demand. Another factor for the increase of prices was the stocking up of the N95 masks by bulk by the public, scared by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the N95 masks are quite reliable for protection against the pandemic, a lot of people also wear it as a fashion statement. They have customized their N95 masks, making them look attractive and match them with their clothes. N95 masks are not only famous in Hong Kong but also worldwide because of their protective shield against viruses and bacteria. It gives people a sense of safety in the public and helps them restore their confidence.
Reasons for the popularity of N95 masks
N95 masks are very famous and common nowadays among health workers, playing a vital role in surgical and medical operations. The reason for their popularity might be that they successfully filter out the harmful dust particles and provide protection against them. They are very effective against the air-borne viruses and bacteria and are being used for protection against the COVID-19. Some of the reasons for its popularity are as follows:
The N95 masks are also categorized as FFP2 N95 masks, under the EN 149 standard of the European Union, similar to the FDA and CDC approved standards. FFP2 N95 masks filter at least 95% of the dust particles, and other harmful contaminants. This N95 mask offers protection in industries such as glass, cement, pharmaceutical and agricultural industry, filtering the powdered chemicals. It can serve as a protection against severe acute N95 respiratory syndrome associated with coronavirus (SARS) and is closely similar to the N95 mask.
The N95 masks are US certified N95 masks, not only famous in the US but also have an international market, hence boosting their popularity. The 3M and NIOSH are the best sellers in the US and are also exporting outside, in the neighboring countries. N95 masks meet the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) N95 standards and are also considered equivalent to the standards of the European Union’s FFP2 N95 masks and China’s KN95 masks.
The N95 masks made up of a fine mesh of synthetic polymer fiber, and interwoven polypropylene fabric. It has thick N95 respirators so that the wearer can breathe through it, not around it. If the wearer breathes around it, it can invite a lot of germs and harmful substances. However, breathing through it filters out all the harmful airborne particles, hence providing extra protection. The thick composition does not allow the particles to pass through it, hence proving to be safer for the wearer.
Another feature that makes N95 more desirable is its highly adjustable design. It fits the face of the wearer in such a way that no air can pass through the sides. This is the basic difference between the N95 and a surgical mask, making it safer and reliable. It gives extra protection to the wearer, with the thick layer that does not allow the air to pass through it, leaving behind the germs and viruses. It also has an adjustable nose clip, making it universally adjustable for youngsters and adults alike.
It also has a nose foam, making it more comfortable for the wearer, and distinguishing it from other face N95 masks. Other N95 masks lack the foam on their edges, making them irritating and painful for the users. N95 has the quality of comfort that all the other N95 masks such as A95, N85, and so on lack, making it more desirable and famous all around the world. Moreover, it does not leave marks on the face of the wearer.
The N95 masks are 5 layered, making them safer to use as no bacteria or virus can escape through their layers. These layers are flexible and foldable, making the N95 mask easier to carry and convenient to put in the pockets. This feature is very helpful for the medical staff as they usually have more equipment to carry and less space available. This feature has also made it very famous and desirable because, with the added protection, it is also easier to carry and manage.
Face N95 masks such as N95 have not only gained popularity in most affected countries such as China, Hong Kong, the US, Italy, Spain, and India but are in demand worldwide. As the recent death toll has passed 830 thousand, the demand has increased many folds due to the increasing fear among the masses. In these situations, N95 masks have been proven to be more effective than simple surgical or cloth N95 masks, as they can be completely relied upon for protection.