There are a lot of different types of masks being used to stop the spread of COVID-19; cloth/reusable, face shields, surgical and N95 respirators. All types of masks have their time and place. But if you work in a healthcare or high-risk infectious setting it is worth investing in a quality N95 mask to protect yourself and your team.
N95 respirators are a lot more effective at preventing infection from airborne diseases like COVID-19 than surgical masks. In one study, COVID-19 positive patients were asked to cough through a surgical mask and then a N95 mask into petri dishes. COVID-19 particles were detected in 40% of dishes coughed into when wearing surgical mask but none of the petri dishes coughed into wearing the N95 respirator contained any COVID-19 particles. The viral particles were all contained in the mask.
What is an N95 respirator?
The N95 respirator is the preferred facemask for healthcare and high-risk workers and provides the best protection against aerosols and viral particles like COVID-19.
Westlab Scientific’s N95 respirators are comprised of 3 durable layers of synthetic material:
- Inner Layer: Polypropylene Spunbond Nonwoven Fabric
- Middle Layer: Polypropylene Melt-Blown Nonwoven + Hot Air Cotton
- Outer Layer: Polypropylene Spunbond Nonwoven Fabric
What is truly special about N95 respirators is that the genuine masks – like ours – have been charged with electrostatic energy. Once the mask has been ‘charged’ with the energy, the electrostatic effect is permanent for the life of the mask and helps the filters in the mask block out virus particles.
When worn correctly, N95 respirators are up to 95% effective against preventing the user from inhaling airborne particles.
Who should be wearing N95 respirators?
The best way to decide whether or not you, or your team should be wearing N95 masks is to consider your risk profile:
- Do you come in close contact with people that are likely infectious/COVID-positive?
- Do you work in a close contact setting with vulnerable people (small children, the elderly, immunosuppressed like burns and cancer patients)?
- Do you come in contact with large numbers of people throughout your work day?
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you may find yourself in a setting like frontline healthcare workers, aged care, medical specialists & professionals, education, food manufacturing or another setting deemed high-risk for contracting COVID-19. Where wearing an N95 is the best type of mask protection.
If you are a healthcare worker wearing a N95 respirator, it is best to get it fit-tested to ensure its efficiency.
The big problem with N95 masks
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an influx of ‘fake’ N95 masks which are very deceiving for customers and not as effective. Here are some things to look out for when purchasing a genuine N95 mask and avoid counterfeits.
- Look out for the ‘NOISH’ (National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety) printed and spelt correctly on the mask.
- Genuine N95 masks have headbands or straps to go around your head. Counterfeits have been sighted with ear loops which do not provide a correct fit.
- Packaging: Genuine N95 respirators are individually packed to prevent contamination buying bulk quantities of masks that are not individually packaged is a sign of purchasing a fake.
- Price: Because of the rigorous testing and production to make effective masks, N95 respirators cost more to make than cloth and surgical masks. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Location: Where exactly are you buying the mask? If you are buying the mask in a discount store, marketplace or a reputable seller, you may be at risk of buying a counterfeit mask.
Westlab Scientific, are a respected and accredited seller of scientific and medical equipment including the sale of genuine, high quality N95 respirators.
Our N95 respirators have a minimum 95% filter efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols and viral particles. Our masks comply with Australian Standards. The noseclips and straps are also adjustable to provide a comfortable fit and effectively protect you from diseases like COVID-19.
Like all masks, the N95 respirators are most effective, if they are worn properly. Ensure your mouth and nose are covered by the mask and it is snug against your face. Genuine N95 masks will have adjustable straps and nose pieces to comfortably fit on your face.