What are N95 masks?
N95 masks are such great equipment to protect you from different airborne particles that are present in the air. These masks are approved by many Health care organizations all around the world. This mask is effective against different particles like many bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, or any kind of dust spore in the air.
So in this way, it can filter 95% of these harmful particles present in the air. It is made up of Non-woven synthetic fiber that improves its filtration quality. It is mostly used in such places where there are oil fumes or oil particles present in the atmosphere.
Role in Pandemic:
At the end of 2019, the COVID19 occurred in China. But they didn't pay any focus on this at the beginning of its spread. As time passed out this virus was spreading frequently all around the world and when infected people started dying then it created stress on many health care organizations to control this speared as soon as possible at that time. Because of this virus was spreading through the air and it’s really difficult to control something present in the atmosphere and especially if it's a microscopic virus particle.
So, in this respect, public health care authorities designed N95 masks so that it could be supplied to the people and it could be possible to control its spread throughout the world.N95 mask has saved many lives by protecting them from harmful germ particles that were present in the atmosphere. Just because of its high filtration it was possible to save people who can decrease the rate of a pandemic that was increasing day by day. It had a great role in the time of threatening COVID19.
Shortage of N95 respirator and problems:
As at the time of the pandemic everyone was using N95 masks extensively, in different institutions, like medical health centers, hospitals, schools, colleges, and even at home, so suddenly a severe shortage of N95 masks occurred all around the world. When this happened, it created an alarming threat of N95 masks shortage and its complete absence. This made stress on all the Public health care organizations and forced them to take a step to maintain the supply of N95 masks in different areas of the world.
For this purpose, they proposed some strategies to all medical departments that were using this mask extensively so that they decrease the usage of N95 masks. Those strategies are:
- Use of simple cloth masks for some time
- Maintenance of social distancing
- Reuse of N95 masks for limited time
- Application of hydrogen peroxide for decontamination
- Application of other chemicals to decontaminate masks
These are strategies that were recommended in case of a shortage of N95 masks so that their supply could be maintained in a short period.
Ways to contaminate N95 respirator (mentioning just):
As the overuse of N95 masks caused a severe shortage in its supply all over the world. So it was important to find some ways to decontaminate the already used masks so that they can be again used by a person instead of purchasing a new one that can be the reason for its shortage in many cases. So, for this purpose, many techniques have been found that can decontaminate the N95 and make them able to be used again by a patient, by killing the germs present in it after use by a person. So these techniques are:
- By increasing the electromagnetic charge in the mask
- By application of some chemicals like hydrogen peroxide
- By exposing N95 masks in UV-C light
- By application of heat & humidity in controlled condition
Decontamination of N95 masks by UV-C light:
There are different methods, through which we can decontaminate N95 masks and can make it able to reuse for a long time. But exposure to UV light is most effective among all of them. And the reason is that UV light is so strong that it can kill about 90% of the germs and other microscopic light in a short time. That's the fact that mostly, this method is used by many medical centers to decontaminate the N95 masks. Because it is an effective method and can be used again and again for decontamination.
The most important factor in using this method that makes it more feasible is that it doesn't affect the quality of N95 masks at all. Because it just attacks microorganisms present in the layers of these masks instead of deteriorating the fiber and material, that mask is made up of. In addition to this by using this method, we can extend the shelf life of N95 masks and it'll be useful to manage the supply of this personal protective equipment.
A basic method to expose N95 masks to UV-C light is to hang or settle the masks on a specific place, and then apply UV-C light on them with the help of specified UV Led light stands that can be avail easily.
N95 masks have been used extensively throughout this pandemic and because of its overuse, public health care centers have faced a shortage in its supply. That's why they decided to decontaminate N95 masks so that they can be reused and Exposure to UV-C Light is the best method among all of the other methods.