We've heard a lot of chatter about face masks as we've all been living our new standard with coronavirus spreading across the globe these past few months. But do you know the distinction that is most optimal for you between the various forms and which one? Find out all about face masks and why you need to wear them.

We've been reading a lot of face masks over the last few months. It is clear that these masks are hot on everyone's minds lately, from the new CDC guidelines to the recent face mask mandate in North Carolina and other states that are seeing a spike in COVID-19 incidents, to organized organizations banding together to donate face masks to underserved populations in need.

But what do we actually know about these various styles of face masks, between face masks for healthcare employees and face masks for the rest of us? Here are a few observations that help illustrate a few points during the coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic about the use of masks.

Importance of N95 Respirators in COVID-19

Mostly, the masks or respirators are meant to shield our lungs from toxic contaminants of the size of PM2.5. The respirators, meanwhile, are so successful that particles as small as 0.3 microns in size are also flushed out.

They are made from unique materials that can easily clean the air. One special form of respirator that is NIOSH certified N95 gets a fantastic status after the COVID-19 outbreak. This is because, in order to combat the pandemic, WHO advises this.

Normal Mask vs Respirators 

The NIOSH * certified disposable filtering facepieces are not dust masks. They should be worn to complete the tasks such as mowing, sweeping, gardening, and dusting for combat against non-toxic dust. These masks are not respirators and do not have dangerous dust, gas, or vapor protection.

NIOSH-approved N-95 respirators may be mistaken for dust masks. How to detect the difference? Look for a sticker with NIOSH printed on the box and/or cover. The use of the words "respirator" on the packaging can also mean that it is a respirator licensed by NIOSH.

Please notice that we suggest you discontinue their usage and move to dust masks if you are using N-95 respirators for nuisance dust.

Respirator wearers must meet with all MSU Respiratory Safety Program specifications, including medical clearance, preparation, and annual suit testing.

Please contact the Occupational Safety Team at 355-0153 if you have questions or find you need a respirator. To decide if respiratory safety is required, we may conduct a respiratory hazard assessment of job activities.

* NIOSH- U.S. National Occupational Safety and Health Institute. S. The Health and Human Services Agency certifies respirators. A logo or qualification statement should appear on the packaging of the respirator or respirator. It can tell you what the respirator is meant for and how long you are going to be covered by it.

Better understanding of N95 Respirators 

N: This is a Respirator Rating Letter Class. It stands for "Non-Oil," meaning that if no oil-based particles are present, you can use the mask in the work area. The Other Mask Scores are R and P.

95: The efficiency of masks ending at 95 is 95%. Masks ending at 99 have 99 percent quality. Masks finishing at 100 are 99.97 percent efficient and that is the same as a HEPA performance filter.

.3 microns: Masks wipe off pollutants such as mist, dust, and fumes. The minimum size of .3 microns of particulates and large droplets will not get through the membrane, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC).

Material: The filtration matter on the mask is a non-woven electrostatic polypropylene fiber.

Valve: Certain interchangeable N95 masks are designed with an extra exhalation valve. The addition of an exhalation valve difficulty breathing, according to the CDC.

Who needs to wear an N95?

N95s are meant only for healthcare practitioners who, when tending to patients, require protection from airborne threats. Healthcare workers that do procedures that bring germs into the air, including our colleagues that deal with patients on ventilators and other invasive procedures, will provide examples of who would require this sort of mask.

Markings and Approval Labels

The mark is relevant when it comes to understanding whether your respirator has NIOSH clearance.

Identifying licensed respirators should not be too hard if you know what to look for. There is an acceptable number for all NIOSH-approved respirators. The approval number of NIOSH, with a few alterations, is on or inside the packaging. The approval number is shown in red, and in this case, the protection is shown in blue, N95. Your keys to distinguishing NIOSH-approved respirators are the NIOSH approval number and approval mark. Approvals for respirators are occasionally withdrawn. NIOSH sends a Consumer Alert to all subscribers of the NIOSH NPPTL listserv if this may occur and removes the certification number from the NIOSH listings of licensed respirators.

However, inventories of the withdrawn respirators may still be available for purchase, or from an earlier transaction, customers may have them on hand. Through reviewing the data links on the NIOSH Trusted-Source page or on the NIOSH Approved Equipment List (CEL), you can easily verify that respirator approvals are true. Users are advised to auto-subscribe to the NIOSH listserv program to collect email updates regarding the status of respirator permits and other related details from the Consumer Note.

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