What is an N95 Respirator Mask?
Disposable respirator masks have received increased attention as of late with the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, though they have long been used for other purposes including occupational safety. N95 refers to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) rating that is assigned to masks that meet a specified minimum standard for particle transmission. The N95 respirator mask is designed to filter up to 95% of airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger that may otherwise directly enter the nose and mouth of the wearer. These masks may also be worn by people who have a contagious illness to prevent particles from leaving the nose and mouth of the wearer and putting others at risk. While such masks do not protect against particle transmission with 100% accuracy, they can be effective in preventing the spread of infection.
N95 masks can be purchased with our without a valve to facilitate easier breathing. Optimal protection is achieved when the respirator mask fits snugly to the face, covering the nose and mouth without leaving open spaces along the edge. Respirator masks should be fitted correctly to the wearer and not be obstructed by facial hair or jewelry. A poorly fitted respirator mask has greater potential to allow air particles to enter through gaps along the edges of the mask, providing lower levels of protection against the inhalation or spread of particles than a well fitted one.
Respirator masks are widely used for occupational safety, and are particularly common in industrial and health care facilities. Masks used in the workplace must be NIOSH-approved, meaning they meet minimum standards put forth by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
The intended purpose should be kept in mind when purchasing respirator masks. Different types are designed for specific purposes and offer varying levels of protection. Another consideration is whether the mask contains latex, an allergen for some people. Latex free N95 respirator masks are available, and will be marked as such. For more information about latex allergies, please see Latex and Latex Allergies.
About MEDNET Direct: MEDNET Direct is a leading provider of disposable medical supplies as well as quality puppy pads. For more information and to shop medical supplies wholesale, please visit MEDNET Direct.