You should NOT be using an N95 mask if you have these conditions

Masks have become a primary staple in households. Even in public, everywhere you go, there are people who wear masks. This is because medical experts have suggested that wearing masks decreases the chance of contamination for Covid-19. Thus, masks stop the further generation of viruses and bacteria. The mask that is best suitable for the pandemic is the N95 mask.

The N95 mask is a popular mask in the medical field. Medical staff use the N95 mask because of the protection it provides. The N95 mask has not only established a reputation in the field of medicine. Construction, Engineering, and Mining are some of the fields that enjoy the benefit of the N95 mask.

The N95 mask is considered to be the most trusted and the most effective mask to be worn in this time of need. With its filtration ability of 95%, free-floating particles in the air are filtered. These free-floating particles in the air may contain strains of viruses and bacteria that can potentially harm everyone. Also, particles like smoke, smog, dust, finer granules of sand and cement, and volatile gases can also be filtered by the N95 mask.

Despite the reputation and the benefit that the N95 mask had established over time, the mask is not for everyone. Aside from children, the N95 mask is not suitable for some people who have existing medical conditions.

Is this allowed? Yes, because the N95 mask is a tight-fitting mask. Meaning, in order to be protected from viruses and bacteria, the N95 mask creates a tight seal around the area of the mouth and nose. This tight seal from the N95 mask prevents any form of leakage.

What are some medical conditions that exempt people from wearing the N95 mask?

Breathing Difficulties and Chronic Respiratory illnesses

As mentioned earlier, the N95 mask creates a tight seal around the area of the mouth and nose. This tight seal from the N95 mask makes breathing a struggle. Asthmatic people cannot wear the N95 mask. So do people with chronic respiratory illnesses. The N95 mask obstructs breathing and people with respiratory issues cannot properly breathe. Thus, contributes to further breathing complications such as asphyxia.

Other chronic respiratory illnesses include Pulmonary Fibrosis, Asbestosis, and Lung Cancer.

Unconsciousness

Unconscious people are not allowed to wear the N95 mask for the same reason as the first one. Unconscious patients are unable to mount and dismount the N95 mask. Assistance is needed to dismount the N95 mask, in case the patient went unconscious while wearing the mask.

Claustrophobia

Wearing the N95 mask may not be the best option for claustrophobic people. Claustrophobia is the fear of closed spaces. Claustrophobia induces shortness of breath and panic attacks in anyone who experiences this phobia. Therefore, wearing an N95 mask is not suitable.

Mental Health conditions

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people with mental health conditions reaching the autism spectrum are prohibited from wearing the N95 mask. Wearing the N95 mask can induce distress and discomfort. This can trigger tantrums.

What alternatives are available aside from the N95 mask?

The N95 mask has two models; the unvalved N95 mask and the valved N95 mask. The unvalved N95 mask is the one prohibited. However, the valved N95 mask is not also the best option. It is because the valved N95 mask does not filter the air that goes out of the system; endangering the people around the vicinity. Although the valve of the valved N95 mask allows the wearer to breathe easily, still it is not the best option.

ASTM level 1 surgical mask is a viable option. The ASTM level 1 surgical mask functions the same as the N95 mask. It has a filtration level of 95% for both particles and bacteria. However, since this is a surgical mask, the potential for leakage is high.

The KN95 mask can also be considered but not for long. Like the N95 mask, the KN95 mask also creates a tight seal around the area of the mouth and nose.

Single-use surgical masks are also an option. However, it does not provide optimum protection like the N95 mask can. Therefore, this mask is good for a one-time occasion only that does not require intense activity. 

What’s the best thing to do if you have breathing difficulties?

If you are not allowed to wear masks like the N95 mask due to breathing difficulties, here are some things that you can do:

  • Stay at home. That is the most fundamental thing to do if wearing the N95 mask will make your breathing difficult to do. This lessens transmission and further contact with people who are carrying the covid-19 virus.
  • Keep your room sanitized. Using bacteria-eliminating aerosols can help you in reducing contact with people with the virus.
  • Wear a light mask when in public. Light masks like the single-use mask can be used whenever you decide to go to the public. This is an effective option for you to be protected but the single-use mask does not provide protection like the N95 mask. This is why you have to top it with a face shield. This increases protection.
  • Consult your doctor on what to do. If you are an outdoor person with breathing difficulties, it is best to consult your doctor on what to do. Doctors can recommend other alternatives to the N95 mask so that you can keep yourself protected while enjoying life. 

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