2020 will go down as a remarkable year in history, and that is too for a virus that infected almost half of the population! Yes, we are talking about COVID-19. Keeping an eye on the daily news, we find that there are some new positive cases and deaths every day. This is scary. To make us away from the devastating COVID-19, we need to stay aware and conscious. Only the precautions can help us defeat this virus until the vaccine comes into the market.
There are tons of safety measures announced by the WHO and approved by NIOSH. The governments have set strict protocols to keep the numbers in control. The prolonged lockdown period that made us tired and bored was beneficial for us. Now that everything is slowly returning back to its usual self, we need to carry out the safety measures more seriously so that we don’t end up staying at the place we were a few months back.
Among the safety measures that need to be followed by everybody in the family, including the kids, are:
- Washing hands frequently
- Not touching face unnecessarily
- Carrying sanitizer while stepping out
- Maintaining social distance
- Wearing appropriate masks or respirators.
The last point is not meant for the kids under the age of 2.
Talking about masks, there are many things to know about them to serve the purposes of it in the right way. If you are unaware of the different properties of the mask, it can create more trouble for you instead of protecting various germs. N95 is one of the best respirators available in the market currently and it has several variations. Many companies are selling N95 respirators online at a reasonable price. However, it is essential for you to know the authenticity of the mask. You have to ensure whether NIOSH approves the mask or not. N95 comes with various designs and purposes - surgical masks, disposable face masks, washable masks, three layered masks without valves, and with valves. In the United States, surgical masks and N95 three-layered masks were used in the healthcare industry and others where extreme exposure to dust and dirt is unavoidable. With the outbreak of COVID-19, people choose these N95 masks, especially from 3M, to get protected from tiny organisms. However, it is crucial to consult an expert before choosing the right mask for you.
The masks of N95 of 3M that come with valves are 3M 8511, 8210v, 8511 cool flow, etc., and 9210, on the other hand, comes without valves. There was a notion that the mask with valves is better than the ones without that. Many people used to feel suffocated while wearing masks without a valve, and this was the perfect choice for them. Therefore, the sale was notable for the N95 respirators with valves. We said that it was a notion, and there are reasons for our statement. Before that, you must know about the valves and their use in the masks.
The valves are actually a cage of plastic where a thin layer of plastic exists, and it is rotatable and movable. You can’t touch that tin layer because of the plastic cage. It moves upward and downward when you breathe out and breathe in. The cage allows airflow in the mask, making it easy for people with claustrophobia. When the three-layered masks make us sweated and suffocated, using the N95 with respirators seems to be the best choice.
However, there is a catch. Recent studies are speaking against this N95 masks with valves. The researchers found masks without valves safer and better, even for people who don’t feel comfortable in wearing masks. People who suffer from claustrophobia are suggested to wear surgical masks, disposable facemasks, and face shields to keep the germs away. For the children, all N95 masks are prohibited, and there is an absolute ‘no’ for the masks with valves. Researchers say that the masks with valves worsen the situation rather than protecting people from germs.
According to the CDC, in cases where the ambient area needs to be sterile, or germ-free, respirators with exhalation valves should not be used. The reason behind this statement is that the exhalation valve makes exhaled air to escape into the surrounding air without filtering out.
Valve masks are used in industrial environments where a consumer needs environmental protection, or where air pollution is high. While those masks filter the user inhales in clean air, the valves release contaminated air back into the environment.
In cases, if a person wearing an N95 respirator with a valve is a carrier of the virus but initially has no symptoms can be dangerous for the surrounding. He or she will release the virus into the ambient air placing those nearby at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. This is why this mask is not at all recommended for medial professionals or people at the hospital.
NIOSH and CDC advise people to lool before buying any mask from the market. If the NIOSH authorizes the mask, you can get it, but for the valves, make sure you are not causing any risks for your surroundings. The advisors rather request people to wear disposable masks; otherwise, they have to clean their masks every day after one use. This is the right process, and following that, we can defeat this deadly virus and keep us and our surroundings safe.