About Some Surgical N95 Masks and Their Models
There is a lot of confusion about the masks in this pandemic. Surgical, N95 masks, and respirators two are the vital sections about which the confusion is majorly there. For this confusion, many people bought the wrong masks, and people who need it the most didn’t get them. None can be blamed here because the pandemic of COVID-19 was so new for the entire world, even for the researchers. Let’s check the overview of surgical masks and the approved ones for use.
Surgical masks are disposable coverings that are commonly worn during operations or other procedures by medical professionals as personal protective equipment ( PPE). They are often made of a mixture of paper and plastic and are usually light blue.
To protect against large respiratory droplets, surgical masks are built but do not protect against smaller droplets. They are useful if you are a carrier of the virus to help protect those around you. While these masks are suitable for one-time use, there are also a few difficulties, namely that they can not be washed and reused like cloth masks.
They are not meant to protect the wearer from airborne viruses with smaller particles but are nevertheless safe because of the filtration process. They appear as effective as respirators concerning certain infections such as influenza, such as FFP or N95 masks; although the former provides better safety in laboratory experiments because of their material
Surgical masks differ according to consistency and safety levels. Not all surgical masks are suitable to be used during surgery, despite their name. Chinese health officials differentiate between medical (non-surgical) and surgical masks. Surgical masks can be classified as surgical, isolation, dental, or medical procedure masks.
In the 1960s, surgical masks came into the market to use and replaced cloth face masks in all developing countries. The surgical masks and its use during the COVID-19 have been a subject of discussion, as surgical mask shortages are a key concern. In East Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea, surgical masks are widely worn by the general public all year round to minimize the risk of transmitting airborne diseases.
There is room for some coronavirus masks to include a filter, but are they effective? Respirators like N95s, which are not recommended for the general public, are the only coronavirus face masks that have professional-grade filtres. Read more about misconceptions about masks.
Some people have mentioned that you can add extra protection to your mask with coffee filters, VAC filters, and more. As of July 2020, however, there is no evidence for this. Homemade filtres will make it harder for you to breathe in your mask.
Instead of focusing on whether a mask has a filter or not, make sure that the mask is made of multiple fabric layers, fits tightly on the face, and covers your nose and mouth completely.
Here are seven filer classes available at this time for NIOSH-approved respirators. 95% is the minimum filtration standard that NIOSH can accept. As discussed below, the N, P, and R tags refer to the oil resistance of the filer.
- N95 – Filtration capability of 95% of airborne particles. It is not oil- resistant
- Surgical N95 – Approved by NIOSH and FDA
- N99 – Filtration capability of 99% of airborne particles. It is not oil- resistant
- N100 – Filtration capability of 99.7% of airborne particles. It is not oil- resistant
- R95 – Filtration capability of 95% of airborne particles.Somewhat oil- resistant
- P95 – Filtration capability of 95% of airborne particles. It is oil- resistant.
- P99 – Filtration capability of 99% of airborne particles. It is oil- resistant.
- P100 – Filtration capability of 99.97% of airborne particles. It is oil- resistant
Products NIOSH-approved are listed by the brand. Links to the websites of the manufacturers are given to users as a courtesy and NIOSH is not liable for the quality of those pages. The manufacturer's contact number, model number, approval digit, and an indication of whether the product contains an exhalation valve, and instructions for the customer are also included. As a courtesy to the recipient, the donation process of the manufacturer and/or user instructions are also given here.
3M is the leading manufacturer of surgical N95 masks and their approved masks are the most popular one in the United States. 3M has a variety of masks, however, NIOSH approved very few of them based on the effectiveness and filter process and the possibility of damage. Here are some of those model names manufactured under the banner of 3M:
- N95 1860
- N95 1870
- N95 1805
- N95 1870 Plus
- N95 1804
- N95 1804S
The suggested procedures of manufacturers for conducting a user seal check may be included as alternatives to the OSHA-specified procedures under the respiratory safety standard in the donning procedures and/or user instructions. The effectiveness and reliability of any consumer seal control procedures are not evaluated by NIOSH, but OSHA will consider the suggested procedures of the manufacturer if the employer shows that such procedures are equally successful as those defined in the norm.
It is the responsibility of each manufacturer to update the links on their website and/or send a modified or revised copy to NIOSH when changes are made.
The information is given to provide access to a comprehensive list of NIOSH-approved facepiece respirators for particulate filtering and also to provide easy access to the donation process/user instructions. The tables are not revised as much as the list of accredited equipment, which is the official record of NIOSH certification.